Opening the Enquiry: Statute: Neutral Approach
TMA70/SCH 1A/PARA 5
FA98/SCH 18/PARA 24
An officer of HMRC can enquire into any return.
- You should therefore adopt a neutral opening in enquiries. Information powers in FA2008/Sch36 allow you to require information for the purpose of checking the person’s tax position.
- Do not tell the person if the enquiry is a random one
- There are no legal requirements to restrict enquiries to returns with which you are dissatisfied, but enquiries must only be opened if they meet the criteria in the Litigation and Settlement Strategy (LSS).
- Your job is to check tax returns. When opening the enquiry you should do no more than seek the evidence on which you can reach an objective judgement on the accuracy of the return and why any inaccuracy may have arisen.
- You should always keep an open mind about any information you hold that is potentially misleading or capable of being explained.
- You should be aware of the possibilities of inaccuracies in the taxpayer’s favour as well as inaccuracies in HMRC’s favour.