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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Examinations: Post-award penalty cases: 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 2 options:-

  • amend the award
  • make a further request for the information

Section 16 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’. You must consider the risk and the evidence held.

a.  Where the case includes an undeclared partner risk - see CCM4852

b.  In all other cases you will send a further request fir the outstanding information and warn the customer that if they do not provide this information their award will be suspended. See CCM4880 for the details of what to say in the further request.