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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Determine who can support the enquiry: Specialist Personal Tax: Pension Schemes Services: enquiry work involving Pension Schemes Services

Pension Scheme Services (PSS) may open checks into matters affecting a pension scheme’s registration, or into other aspects of its operation. Such checks can lead to

  • the de-registration of the scheme
  • tax charges falling on scheme members, the scheme administrator, or for an occupational scheme, the sponsoring employer.

As part of their check PSS will require information relating to

  • the pension scheme itself
  • the employer who contributes to the scheme
  • employees of that employer (including directors in the case of a company), and
  • individual members of the pension scheme.

PSS is not often directly involved in enquiries into individual’s returns and claims, but in some circumstances it may have to proceed by way of an enquiry under TMA70/S9A.

Before doing so, PSS will contact the office responsible for the customer concerned to check whether the proposed enquiry can go ahead.

  • Where PSS are enquiring into the pension scheme aspect of an SA return, you will normally retain case ownership if you have an open enquiry.

PSS will keep you informed regularly and will refer the relevant papers back to you for formal closure with full instructions on the figures to be included in the closure notice.

You will need to check that any adjustments to the return relating to other risks which you identified prior to the submission to PSS are incorporated into the closure notice.

If, in the course of an enquiry into a taxpayer you discover information suggesting that there may be some irregularity involving a pension scheme you should contact PSS (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

Irregularity means the use of a registered pension scheme to obtain non-pension benefits, for example through

  • the extraction of value by a, sponsoring employer or member through transactions with the scheme on non-arms length terms
  • the investment by certain schemes in tangible movable property or residential property
  • the use by members of pension scheme assets.