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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Opening the Enquiry: Information Request: Detail

The approach of opening enquiries in a neutral way and limiting your request for information to that reasonably relevant to the return should be followed even if you have information which appears to indicate that a source of income or gains has been omitted. The information submitted in response to your initial request may provide some confirmation of the omitted source(s).

If so, you should be able to request any further information relevant to that source at the next stage of the enquiry. If however the omitted source is not thus brought to light, you will need to consider at that stage whether you should discuss with the agent and/or tell the taxpayer that you have information that suggests that his or her return is incomplete.

For the type of information you could request in

  • a full enquiry into a business taxpayer, see EM1561
  • a full enquiry into a non business taxpayer, see EM1570
  • aspect enquiries, see EM1575.

You should make it clear in your opening letter whether the enquiry is full or aspect. In the latter case you should make it clear that the enquiry could become full. You should not tell the taxpayer why the enquiry has been opened.

If there is an agent acting you should address any request for information to them and copy the letter to the taxpayer.

CH23540 explains in detail when you can use information and inspection powers to check the position of self-assessment taxpayers.