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HMRC internal manual

Partnership Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Self Assessment for partnerships: compliance checks: opening a compliance check

The statutory provision enabling an enquiry into a partnership return is TMA1970/S12AC. The notice should be issued to the nominated partner or his/her successor. The time limit for issuing a notice under S12AC is:

  • if the return was filed on or before the statutory filing date, 12 months after the date the return was delivered, or
  • if the return was filed after the statutory filing date, the quarter date (31 January, 30 April, 31 July, 31 October) after the first anniversary of the day the return was delivered.

The S12AC notice is also deemed to include the giving of a notice of enquiry into each of the partners’ returns. This applies even if the time limit for opening an enquiry into a partner’s return separately has passed. As per the guidance at EM7041, HMRC treats the deemed enquiry as only relating to the partnership aspects of the partners’ returns.

For customer service reasons, HMRC usually notifies partners that a compliance check has been opened under S12AC. This may not be practical, however, where there are a large number of partners. In such a case, it is reasonable to rely on the nominated partner to notify the other partners. You should draw the nominated partner’s attention to the fact that you have not notified the other partners separately and highlight the nominated partner’s responsibility to do so.

It is important to remember the time limits for enquiring into partners’ returns when undertaking a compliance check into the partnership return. A separate enquiry should be opened into a partner’s own tax return (e.g. under TMA1970/S9A if an individual) if non-partnership aspects are to be reviewed. You should also do this if the partner disagrees with the figures shown in the partnership statement as having been allocated to him/her.