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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Information Powers: SA & CTSA Enquiry powers: Complying with the notice

This guidance only applies to information notices issued on or before 31 March 2009.

After 31 March 2009 you cannot issue notices under TMA70/S19A, FA98/SCH18/Para27, TMA70/SCH1A/Para6 or TMA70/S20. You must instead use the information powers in FA08/SCH36, see CH20000+.

More Time Required

If the taxpayer (or agent) asks for more time to comply with a notice issued on or before 31 March 2009 you should listen and take account of their request. If the taxpayer has good reason for needing more time you can agree a revised time scale for production of the information. The new date should be well beyond the delivery time allowed for receipt of the original notice plus the 30 days or more given in that notice. Send a letter to the taxpayer (copied to the agent where one is acting) saying that you have agreed to allow further time for compliance with the notice dated dd/mm/yy. The information should now be provided by dd/mm/yy. You need not take any further action if this date is met.

If you do not consider an extension of the time limit to be appropriate or you are not satisfied with the taxpayer’s explanations you should advise the taxpayer (or agent) giving your reasons for refusing the request for more time. If requested you should set out your reasons in writing.

You should advise the taxpayer (or agent) that there is no right of appeal against the time allowed to comply with the notice and if the information is not received by the relevant date you will be writing to them explaining what penalties may apply. There is a right of appeal against the penalty.

You should always deal with these cases promptly once the relevant date has passed.

Information Unavailable

If the taxpayer informs you that he or she cannot obtain the information, or says that it does not exist (documents only) and you are satisfied that the claim is genuine, you should set aside the relevant part of the notice.

In these circumstances you should consider whether

  • a penalty under TMA70/S12B (5) or FA98/SCH18/Para 23 (failure to keep records for the purposes of returns) may be appropriate EM1450, or
  • the record keeping failure should be taken into account in determining the amount of any penalty to be charged for making an incorrect return EM6080.

Copies or Originals

Section 19A etc do not oblige the taxpayer to hand over original documents into your keeping. The obligation may, unless you give notice to the contrary, be discharged by the production of suitable copies of the originals. If the original document is required, you are only entitled to inspect it - there is no right to keep it, although copies may be taken and extracts made.

You may however retain any accounts or particulars, which are to be furnished (dictionary definition: cause to have possession/yield to) to you.

TMA70/S19A(3)

TMA70/S19A(4)

TMA/SCH1A/PARA 6(3A)

TMA/SCH1A/PARA 6(3B)

FA98/SCH18/PARA 27(3)

FA98/SCH18/PARA 27(4)