Working the Enquiry: Meetings: Future Action
At the end of the meeting, it is vital that the taxpayer leaves knowing exactly where he or she stands. If there is likely to be additional liability what does he or she need to do in terms of co-operation, payments on account etc. If penalties are potentially involved, remind them of the benefits of co-operation and that it is for them to decide how much to co-operate EM1362. If more information or documents are needed, the taxpayer should know what has to be provided and within what timescale. Unless this is done it will be impossible for you to maintain the momentum of the enquiry.
You should sum up therefore, and agree a realistic timetable for the provision of information. Documents in the taxpayer’s possession should be provided within days, third party details and computations will obviously take longer.
For periods where the filing date for the return is on or before 31 March 2009, the degree of the taxpayer’s co-operation is an important factor in the abatement of penalties. The taxpayer and their agent should not be left in any doubt as to what this implies.
For periods beginning on or after 1 April 2008 where the filing date is on or after 1 April 2009, the level of penalties for an inaccuracy in a return or other document is determined by the type and quality of disclosure. CH82400 gives full details. And the taxpayer and their agent should not be left in any doubt as to what this means.
With a co-operative and willing taxpayer you may not have to labour the point, especially where figures are agreed on the spot. If further information has to be supplied, you may need to make it clear that you expect to be given within agreed times complete and truthful answers to any reasonable question or request for information or documents, and that the taxpayer should do all in his or her power to reach and agree a just settlement of the tax liabilities. On your part, you should undertake to deal with matters promptly on behalf of HMRC and not to keep the taxpayer or agent in suspense or in the dark about your own views and requirements.
To ensure that there cannot be any misunderstanding you should follow up with a letter as soon as possible after the meeting, setting out the details required and timetable for submission. You should also include anything which you have promised, such as interest calculations.
Notes of the meeting can follow separately if their attachment would delay the follow-up letter.