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HMRC internal manual

COTAX Manual

Repayments / reallocations: repayment /reallocation authorisation: introduction)

It is important that our systems and processes address the risks that arise when making repayments and reallocations. This section primarily deals with the majority of repayments issued by COTAX, but also covers other CT repayments such as those made from the SAFE system.

COTAX automatically selects some repayments and reallocations for authorisation. They are selected from:

  • repayments awaiting issue
  • issued repayments
  • section 963 CTA 2010 surrenders
  • reallocations made using an online function.

The selected cases appear on the appropriate work lists in the responsible office and Debt Management and Banking offices.

See COM126000 for more information about these work lists.

Depending on the type and size of the office there is one person, and one or two deputies with the following COTAX roles.

  • Repayment Authoriser Dist - responsible office.
  • Repayment / Reallocation Authoriser AO - the CT Unit Cumbernauld.
  • Reallocation Authoriser Coll - debt management offices.

The officers with these roles are responsible for carrying out security checks on the selected COTAX repayments, reallocations and certain non-COTAX repayments. Those in the responsible office / MUID are known as Repayment Security Authorisers (RSA).

The RSA plays a vital part in helping the department to deter, identify and tackle fraud. To carry out that function effectively, the RSA must have the full support of staff, particularly those doing work that leads to a repayment. To enable them to perform the appropriate security checks, they must have access to:

  • relevant documents and files
  • the COTAX system
  • online returns
  • the R400 guidance.

Any obstruction to their performance of these duties may result in referral to Internal Audit.

Senior officers appoint one person and one or more deputies to the role. When a new RSA or deputy RSA is appointed the manager must ensure they are given appropriate handover assistance. It is the manager’s responsibility to ensure that the COTAX role is made available using the SRS system, and is withdrawn when the role is no longer required. See COM31010 for further guidance on how to request a COTAX user role.

Before an officer is appointed to the RSA role they must:

  • have at least two years established service
  • not have the COTAX Authoriser role, Technical Caseworker, CT Co-ordinator or Clerical Support in any management unit (MUID)
  • not generate manual repayments in the MUID for which they will be making security checks
  • be a minimum of Band O, due to the more complex features that may make it difficult to consider the extent of the security risk, for example:

    • carry-backs, such as losses
    • reallocations or surrenders, such as group relief or S963 CTA 2010
    • claims for relief to a S455 CTA 2010 (formerly S419 FA 1988) charge.

Where the RSA needs to seek advice from a more technically experienced and higher graded officer, that officer should not have had any involvement in the repayment.

It is important to remember that it is essential to maintain separation of roles between:

  • operators who can give others access to the computer system
  • those who can cause COTAX repayments and reallocations and
  • the operator who carries out the repayment security checks.

For this reason the following roles should be given to different people in the responsible office:

  • COTAX Role Authoriser
  • Technical Caseworker
  • Repayment / Reallocation Authoriser
  • Clerical Support.

The RSA is also responsible for carrying out security checks on all non-COTAX generated manual payable orders and it is therefore essential that they do not create these types of repayments.