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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Post-award examinations: Action: Customer does not respond to opening letter

If the customer does not respond to your opening letter by the date specified, you should:

  • check to see if the information has been received in your office, but not yet passed to you
  • consider whether there may be any exceptional circumstances preventing the customer from replying, for example a postal dispute.

If the opening letter has been returned RLS or you know the address is false - see CCM5287.

In all other cases if you are satisfied the customer(s) has been given every opportunity to supply the information you will have 3 options:-

  • if you sent a TCC2 make a further formal request for the information
  • if you sent a TCC1130 which notifies the customer that the award can be suspended, postpone the payments
  • amend the award

Section 16 and 19 only allows you to amend an award where you have reasonable grounds for believing the award is incorrect. A failure to reply to your opening letter is not, in itself, ‘reasonable grounds’ to amend an award. You must consider the risk and the evidence held.

  • Where the case includes an Undisclosed Partner risk - consider if any of the scenarios at CCM15380 apply.
  • If the scenarios at CCM15380 do apply then follow CCM15370.
  • If the scenarios at CCM15380 do not apply consider the options below. In cases where you have used the TCC2, you will need to send a further formal request for the outstanding information and warn the customer that if they do not provide this information their award will be suspended. See CCM4450 for details of what to say in the further request.
  • In cases where you have used the TCC1130, postpone the payments and BF the case for another 30 days. If you do not get a fully reply to your request for information at the end of the 30 days make a decision on the evidence you hold.