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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Examinations: Pre-award penalty cases: Claimant does not respond to opening letter

If the claimant 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 claimant from replying, for example a postal dispute.

If you think there is a problem you can allow a further week or exceptionally more than this with your manager’s agreement. In these cases you should contact the claimant(s) by phone to remind them of the need to deal with your query.

If the opening letter is returned RLS or you know the address is false - see CCM5285.

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

  • make a decision
  • issue a reminder
  • make a formal request for the information

a.  Make a decision - where there has been no reply you will need to reject the claim as shown in CCM4660.

b.  Issue a reminder - where there has been no reply issue letter TCC76 which tells the claimant that if they do not reply within 14 days we will reject the claim. If the claimant then replies - see CCM4630. If there is no reply after 14 days you will need to reject the claim as shown in CCM4660.

c.  Formal request for information - it will be very rare in a pre-award case that you decide to make a formal request for information. Where you do decide to follow this route see CCM5090.

During the appeal period obtain a copy of the incorrect claim or statement as this will be needed if appeal proceedings are necessary. Where the claim, statement or declaration was made by telephone obtain a copy of the call recording