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

HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Opening the Enquiry: Statute: Outline

An officer of HMRC has the power of

Correcting a return

An officer of HMRC can, within 9 months of receiving an SA or CTSA return, amend it without opening an enquiry into the return in order to correct

  • an obvious error or omission. ‘Obvious’ means that there can be no doubt what the correct entry should be. This could include correcting arithmetical errors and errors of principle. See the guidance at SAM121530-1 and in the Cotax manual at COM23050.
  • anything else that the officer has reason to believe is incorrect based on information already held and where no more information is needed.

There is no right of appeal against a correction but there is a right of rejection.

The taxpayer can reject a correction of an SA return by notice, in writing, within 30 days. This means that the correction has no effect and the self assessment is put back to the original figures. Even if the taxpayer does not reject the correction in the time allowed, they may be in time to amend the return. In such cases, you can only dispute the amendment by means of a formal enquiry into the amended return.

A company can reject a correction of its CTSA return

  • by amending its return, if it is in time to do so, or
  • if it is too late to amend its return, by notice in writing within 3 months of the date of issue of the correction.

If the error or omission cannot be corrected in that way or the correction is rejected, you can only pursue the point by means of a formal enquiry.

Opening an enquiry

The statute allows you to open an enquiry

  • into a complete return, or
  • only into the amendment to a return when the rest of the return is final, or
  • into a claim not included in a return.

The table shows the relevant statute.

Enquiry into Statute
a return TMA70/S9A - individuals and trusts / TMA70/S12AC - partnership / FA98/Sch 18/para 24 - companies
an amendment to a return when the rest of the return is final TMA70/S9A(5) - individuals and trusts / TMA70/S12AC(5) - partnerships / FA98/Sch 18/Para 25(2) - companies
a claim TMA70/SCH 1A/PARA 5

The general guidance on opening an enquiry applies to all enquiries, whatever statutory authority they are made under. All references to Section 9A in this part of the manual include Section 12AC, para 24 and Schedule 1A paragraph 5 unless otherwise stated.

Companies include all concerns within the charge to corporation tax such as, industrial and provident societies, authorised unit trusts, unincorporated clubs and societies as well as limited and unlimited companies.

There is additional guidance

  • on Section 12AC for partnerships at EM7000+
  • on Schedule 18/PARA 24 for companies at EM8000+
  • on Schedule 1A/PARA 5 for claims at SACM8000+.