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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

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HM Revenue & Customs
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How to do a compliance check: types of compliance checks: introduction

A compliance check is any action taken by an officer of HMRC to check a person’s tax position or liability to excise duty in respect of the taxes and duties listed at CH201100.

The powers in FA08/Sch36 are used to check a person’s tax position, while the powers in CEMA79 are used to check liability to excise duties.

Types of checks can range from a short telephone call to confirm a simple fact to a full and detailed investigation of a person’s entire financial affairs over a period of years.

Examples of the types of compliances checks carried out by HMRC are given at CH205200.

A compliance check can be made into a filed tax return or can be made before a tax return has been filed. See CH205300 for information on pre-return checks and COG940000 for Business Records Checks. There are certain conditions attached to checking a Self-Assessment return, see CH23520.

Compliance checks sometimes involve cross-tax working, that is, looking into more than one tax position or liability to duty, see CH206400. All officers doing compliance checks should have an awareness of other taxes and duties and refer for further action any risks they identify in other taxes.