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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Claims Manual

Making Enquiries into Claims: Claim Made Outside a Return and Then Included in a Return

Some claims can be made before a notice to file a return, for the year of assessment in question, has been issued and the claim made outside the return may well be repeated or reflected in the return when it is subsequently filed.

In these circumstances questions can arise about when to enquire into the claim, whether it is necessary to open an enquiry into the return as well as the claim and which enquiry power to use?

Enquiry opened prior to receipt of the return

Where it is decided to enquire into the claim prior to the receipt of the return, the enquiry should be opened under paragraph 5, Sch.1A as the claim is outside a return.

When the return is received, it will be necessary to establish whether an enquiry should also be made into the return under Section 9A or Section 12AC. Whilst there cannot be a second enquiry into the same claim (paragraph 5(3) Schedule 1A), a separate enquiry may be needed into the return because:

  • The claim has an effect on the return and in particular, the self-assessment.
  • In the case of a partnership, the claim has an effect on the returns of the individual partners or
  • Other risks have been identified.

Enquiry not opened prior to receipt of the return

Where it is decided not to enquire into the claim prior to receipt of the return an enquiry can still be made once the return is received.

The enquiry is then opened under Section 9A or Section 12AC, it is still possible to enquire into the claim even though it was actually made prior to the return being filed. That is because the claim forms part of the return and we can enquire into anything contained in the return or required to be contained in the return. Section 9A(4) and Section 12AC(4) make it clear that this includes any claim or election.

It may also be necessary to determine whether enquiries should be opened into any associated returns and that is especially true when dealing with claims made by partnerships. The effect on the returns of the individual partners must always be considered. Whilst Section 28B(4) provides some protection here, there could be reasons why separate enquiries need to be opened.