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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Information Powers: Introduction

All enquiry work is undertaken on the basis that the taxpayer must initially be given the opportunity to supply the information you require voluntarily. Although many enquiries are concluded on this basis you do have information powers to counter any lack of co-operation or delaying tactics on the part of the taxpayer or agent. Schedule 36 FA 2008 provides the information powers to be used on or after 1 April 2009 and guidance on those information powers is at CH20000+.

The guidance on information powers that follows in this manual is limited to appeal, penalty and other matters relating to information notices that were issued on or before 31 March 2009.

The powers available to you are

  • TMA70/S19A, TMA 70/Sch 1A/para 6 and FA98/Sch 18/para 27. These only apply to enquiries under Self Assessment. They are available to all officers of HMRC and can be applied when you have issued a formal notice of enquiry into a return or claim made under ITSA or CTSA EM10005+
  • TMA70/S20. These information powers are available to Authorised officers EM10100+
  • S.I. 1994/No. 1811/Regulation 10 or S.I. 1994/No. 1812/Regulation 10. These powers are exercised by the General and Special Commissioners EM10030.

Section 19A and paras 6 and 27 etc were introduced to support enquiry work under Self Assessment. These are the dedicated information powers for enquiries into SA returns and, where suitable, must always be used in preference to Section 20 and Regulation 10 notices

Where you consider giving notice under S20(1) for documents or particulars relevant to an ITSA or CTSA return period at a time when the enquiry window for that period is still open you must make a report to contact link before making any request, whether formal or informal. Cases where this would be appropriate are likely to be restricted to those working with a specialist operational office such as Special Civil Investigations

TMA70/Sch 1A/para 6 is the information power for enquiries into claims made outside a return.