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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Opening the Enquiry: Statute: CTSA Time Limits

FA98/SCH18/PARA14

FA98/SCH18/PARA24

This page summarises the rules for the time limits for opening CTSA enquiries, then sets out each of the rules in more detail.

Summary

For accounting periods ending on or before 31 March 2008 the time limits for opening an enquiry are the same for all companies.

For accounting periods ending after 31 March 2008, where a company files its return by the filing date, there are different time limits for

  • a member of a group that is not ‘small’, see EM1512 and EM1513, and
  • any other company.

There are further rules for the time limit for opening an enquiry into a late return or an amended return. Be careful to follow the guidance below about the date when a return is delivered.

Accounting periods ending on or before 31 March 2008 - return delivered on or before filing date

The time limit for giving a notice of enquiry is fixed by reference to the filing date for the tax return. This will depend on the company’s ‘relevant period of account’. For this purpose, ‘period of account’ means the period for which the company makes up accounts.

Where the return is delivered on or before the filing date the notice of enquiry can be given at any time up to 12 months from the statutory filing date.

The statutory filing date is the last day of whichever of the following periods is the last to end.

  • Twelve months from the end of the period for which the return is made. See example 1 at EM1511.
  • If the company’s relevant period of account is not longer than 18 months, 12 months from the end of the period. See example 2 at EM1511.
  • If the company’s relevant period of account is longer than 18 months, 30 months from the beginning of that period. See example 3 at EM1511.
  • Three months from the date on which the notice requiring the return was served. See example 4 at EM1511.

Accounting periods ending after 31 March 2008 - return delivered on or before filing date

The time limit for giving notice of an enquiry has been amended by Finance Act 2007 for accounting periods (APs) ending after 31 March 2008.

  • For a member of a group that is not ‘small’ where a return is received on or before the filing date, the new time limit is 12 months from the statutory filing date.
  • For other companies where a return is received on or before the filing date, the time limit is 12 months from the date of receipt of the return.

The definition of a group that is ‘small’ is in S383 Part 15, Chapter 1 of the Companies Act 2006, see EM1512 and EM1513.

Late returns - all companies and all periods

If the return is delivered after the filing date, notice of enquiry may be given at any time up to and including the quarter date (31 January, 30 April, 31 July or 31 October) next following the first anniversary of the day on which the return was delivered, see example 5 at EM1511.

Amended Returns - all companies and all periods

The company can amend its return at anytime up to 12months from the statutory filing date (Para 15(4)(a)).

Notice of enquiry into the amended return can be given at any time up to 31 January, 30 April, 31 July or 31 October next following the first anniversary of the day on which the amendment was made. See example 6 at EM1521.

Date when a notice is ‘given’ - all companies and all periods

For a notice to be ‘given’ by a particular date, the receipt must receive it by that date. You should make the same assumptions for postal deliveries as for SA EM1506.

All notices relating to Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax or Corporation Tax enquiries must be in writing, see EM0067.