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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Supporting Guidance: employer compliance: guidance by subject: settlement: without a meeting

There will be cases in which the employer will be reluctant to attend a settlement meeting and will ask ‘how much’ HMRC has in mind.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

The Department cannot insist on a settlement meeting but it is essential for the employer to know exactly where they stand before making an offer (in particular it provides the last opportunity to provide any additional information that may affect the amount of a penalty considered to be due).

A settlement meeting should only be dispensed with where

  • an adequate reason is given
  • there is no reason to doubt that the employer’s means are sufficient to be able to meet the obligation they are accepting
  • the cost in holding a meeting to both the employer and HMRC is prohibitive.

In addition for penalty cases, be satisfied that the employer

  • understands HMRC’s view as to their culpability
  • knows what offer is considered appropriate and is prepared to make that offer.

The settlement meeting can be more readily dispensed with in small cases or more straightforward ones (for example ‘one-off’ inaccuracies).

In complex or more serious cases it would require unusual circumstances to justify dispensing with the settlement meeting altogether. When you have dispensed with the settlement meeting reasons should be fully documented on the file.

You should then proceed to settle by telephone and/or correspondence (COG914575 - By Post).