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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Working the Enquiry: Keeping Control: Avoiding Delay by Taxpayer

In some enquiries the volume and complexity of the information and of the issues that arise make it inevitable that the enquiry takes a long time. But in other cases the time taken to complete the enquiry is unnecessarily long. This could be burdensome for the taxpayer and is frequently a factor in complaints about enquiry work.

Enquiries inevitably take time, but your enquiry will be unnecessarily prolonged if

  • there is HMRC delay EM1813. The taxpayer’s right to apply for completion of an enquiry puts a greater premium on avoidance of HMRC delay in working enquiries EM1975+
  • effective action is not taken to overcome delays by the taxpayer or agent.

You, taxpayers and their agents should aim to work within a 15 working day turnaround time. This may not always be possible but you should encourage agreement of a realistic timetable at the beginning of an enquiry to reflect needs or difficulties.