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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Our Conduct and Behaviour: customer service to disabled people: prompting disclosure

When you carry out a compliance check you must always prompt the customer to let you know if there is anything about their health or personal circumstances that may make it difficult for them to manage their tax affairs.

This will mean that you can take their disability into account and make any reasonable adjustments they require when planning your compliance check, see COG11375.

You may be able to prompt disclosure at the start of your compliance check by

  • issuing the appropriate compliance check factsheet, see CH202050
  • asking the person to let you know if there is anything about their health or personal circumstances that may make it difficult for them to manage their tax affairs

so that you can help when you contact them by phone or by letter.

Sometimes someone with a disability may not want to tell you about it and you may only become aware of this during the course of your compliance activity.

If a person tells you that they have a disability you should

  • acknowledge the information - a simple statement along the lines of ‘Thanks for telling me that’ will be sufficient
  • ask them what you can do to help and identify what adjustments they require
  • advise the person you intend to note their records with details of their particular needs and any adjustments required and that this information may be shared with other HMRC staff who can access that system
  • explain this will save them repeating the information to other parts of HMRC that may be involved with their affairs.

You should remind yourself of the services available for people with particular requirements, see COG11380 and HMRC services for customers with particular needs.

Record the reasonable adjustments you have agreed on Caseflow, Self Assessment Notes, or in any other system you are working on. You must take particular care that all notes are clear and concise.

At this stage you should not ask for any evidence of the disability. If you have concerns that

  • the adjustments may not be reasonable, or
  • you may be unable to make the adjustments required

then you should contact COPGU for further advice.

If you feel it is appropriate and

  • the person acknowledges they need help in sorting out their tax affairs, and
  • they do not have a tax agent

suggest the person may wish to consider contacting a free advice agency such as TaxAid for advice (if on a low income) or Citizen’s Advice for practical support. If they have mental health issues they may contact MIND for practical support.

For further guidance on how to help people with disabilities see COG11360.