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

HMRC internal manual

Decisions and appeals for National Insurance Contributions and Statutory Payments

When to make decisions: Introduction

The precise timing of when to issue a notice of decision depends upon the circumstances of the particular case. Premature decisions may cause unnecessary work but delaying decisions without good reason denies the person a right of appeal, could result in a serious complaint and could also contravene human rights’ legislation. This list suggests when you should issue decisions

  • When the facts have been established and the customer does not accept your opinion. Generally this will be when the correspondence is exhausted and to continue it would mean repeating yourself.
  • Where there is an outstanding issue which needs to be resolved and it is clear that the customer is causing unnecessary delay by failing to respond. You should ensure that you have made use of information and/or inspection powers to get any required facts before issuing a decision. Issuing a decision must not be used as an alternative to using such powers.
  • Where a customer asks for a formal decision. If complying with this request would mean that a decision has to be made before all the facts have been established and the relevant law applied, explain this to the person requesting the decision. Only in exceptional circumstances should a decision be given prematurely. If it is necessary to do this, make clear in the explanatory letter that you have given the decision on the facts available at the time and that it may be necessary to vary it when further information is obtained.
  • To avoid difficulty in enforcement action. See DANSP47000 for more information.
  • When you are told to do so by instructions covering a case or category of case. For example, in cases involving disputes about Class 1 National Insurance contributions (NIC) liability on payments into funded unapproved retirement benefit schemes, a SCS memo was issued instructing staff to issues decisions where none had previously been issued.

Statutory Payments decisions

See DANSP13300 and DANSP12700 for information.

Advice about decisions

If you are unsure whether it is time for a decision, seek advice from your Technical Team, for example

  • the Employer Support Team in Local Compliance,
  • via your manager in the Large Business Service,
  • PSN Technical (Statutory Payments),
  • via your manager in Specialist Investigations.

If necessary, the technical advisers may need to get advice from Central Policy’s Tax Administration Advice.

Automatic decisions

A formal decision is made automatically when penalties (not relating to statutory payments) are charged, for example, where an employer has not submitted a Class 1A NIC return.