beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: types of compliance checks: pre-return checks: introduction

These sections explain more about

  • when pre-return checks can be appropriate and effective, see CH205320 
  • how pre-return checks can be used in relation to checks on tax planning and avoidance, see CH205330 
  • investigating the withholding of information when a person fails to file certain tax returns on time, see CH205335 
  • restrictions on the use of information and inspection powers provided by Schedule 36 Finance Act 2008, see CH205340 
  • how to correct inaccuracies identified by pre-return checks, see CH205350.

An advantage of a pre-return check is that

  • it allows you to examine contemporary records and discuss them with the people who completed those records
  • it allows the person and HMRC to agree matters before the person makes a mistake on a return yet to be filed, and
  • it gives an opportunity to you to advise the person on matters that might affect a return yet to be made.

You should, however, bear in mind that until a tax return is filed you cannot pre-judge how a person will deal with a transaction.

Business Records Checks are a form of pre-return check carried out by specialist BRC teams. For details on Business Records Checks see COG940000.