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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Examinations: Pre-award penalty cases: Overview

Potential pre-award examinations will be sent to the manager who then allocates them to a Compliance Officer. The details are entered on the TCW or CCMIS.

There are two steps to be considered. The first step is to decide if the risks are all discrepancy risks - see CCM17020. These risks are those where HMRC hold data which differs to that on the claim. For example the declared income differs to that on the P14 or SA return. You need to compare the risks identified to those listed at CCM17020.

  • If the risks are all discrepancy risks - follow the guidance in Chapter 17
  • If the risks are not all discrepancy risks continue as shown below.

Your next step is to decide whether a penalty might be appropriate, see CCM4310

  • if a penalty might be appropriate you will continue as shown below.
  • if a penalty is not appropriate - see CCM4315 

You need to send the claimant a letter, see CCM4620. This formally opens your examination and explains to the claimant what aspect of their claim you are checking and what information you need - see CCM4220.

You will need to consider any response:

  • if the claimant provides the information you asked for, you will make a decision to either

    • Accept the claim in full 
    • Accept part of the claim - see CCM4650
    • Reject the claim - see CCM4660
  • If the claimant doesn’t respond within the time you gave them, you will make a decision as to whether you can accept any part of the claim - see CCM4690 

Once you have made your decision:

  • you should write to the claimant explaining your decision and issue any notice setting out your decision and telling them your examination is now closed. The claimant has a right to appeal against your decision.

Once you have made the decision you will write to the claimant explaining the decision and will explain how we will ask them to pay the penalty.

If the claimant appeals against the decision you will need to consider whether you can revise your decision to settle the appeal by agreement, see CCM4710. If you cannot revise your decision then the case may need to be heard by the Independent Appeals Tribunal.