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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Statements: statement issue: inhibition of statements

Background

In most cases the uninterrupted issue of statements is consistent with HMRC customer care policy. Statements provide taxpayers with detailed information about the payment position on their records. Statements are also used as a prompt or reminder to make payment.

As there is little or nothing on the statement to offend taxpayers, only in exceptional circumstances should the issue of a statement be prevented.

Normally, where there is an enquiry or an outstanding issue, an acknowledgement that the matter is receiving attention will satisfy the taxpayer. The acknowledgement can explain statement issue will continue. And where a liability is being disputed it can be stood over informally to suspend collection.

It is impossible to list all the instances where it might be insensitive or operationally inappropriate to allow statement issue to the taxpayer to continue. Some examples of when to consider statement inhibition are provided below. Particular attention should be paid to Insolvency cases where the monthly issue of statements will quickly become a source of annoyance.

The need to consider statement inhibition often depends on the individual circumstances of a case. The decision whether to inhibit statement issue is made by the Statement Control Officer (SCO).

Consider statement inhibition

It is only exceptionally that the issue of statements to the taxpayer should be inhibited. If a liability is in dispute always consider informally standing over the liability to suspend collection.

Where there is a need to consider inhibiting statements the decision will often depend on the individual circumstances of a case.

Examples of circumstances where statement inhibition can be justified are as follows

  • Complaint cases

Consider inhibiting statement issue to the taxpayer where the

* Taxpayer has a grievance and statement issue might inflame the situation
* Continued issue of statements during the investigation of a complaint might cause embarrassment to the Department. This could apply in particular to complaints to the HMRC Board, PCA, Adjudicator’s Office and Parliamentary or Ministerial cases
  • Deceased cases where details of the Personal Representative are unknown

It will often be insensitive to issue statements, even with a change of personal data to ‘Personal representative of ……. (deceased)’, in the period immediately following death.

The issue of a statement could also cause a breach of confidentiality.

  • Alleged payments

A taxpayer may insist an outstanding amount on a statement has been paid. It may be prudent to inhibit issue of subsequent statements until the payment has been traced, or it can be demonstrated that credit has not been received.

  • Interest objections

Where an objection is received to an interest charge it should be sufficient, in the majority of cases, to use the informal standover procedure to suspend collection of the disputed interest charge.

However, where the disputed interest is an accruing amount a statement showing the disputed interest continuing to accrue could provoke a further complaint.

  • Potential payments (Office with accounting responsibility only)

Potential payments, for example a Certificate of Tax Deposit or a foreign cheque, cannot be credited immediately. It may be appropriate to inhibit statement issue until the credit is posted to the taxpayer record.

  • Revenue loss (Office with Recovery responsibility only)

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  • Insolvency (Office with Recovery responsibility only)

The SA system will continue to issue taxpayer statements in insolvency cases.

In bankruptcy cases where the Official Receiver is acting, statement issue should be inhibited for the duration of the bankruptcy, before the next statement is issued.

In all other bankruptcy cases only inhibit the statement if requested to do so.

Note: The Inhibit Statement signal should not be removed until 3 years following the year shown in the SA ‘Last Return Required’ field on the Signals screen and there is no outstanding liability, or unallocated credits, on the statement. For example, at 6 May 2011, the Last SA Return Required field shows ‘09’ or earlier.

For voluntary arrangement cases statement issue should continue as normal. Requests to inhibit statement issue should be dealt with in the normal way by the Statement Control Officer (SCO)

These examples are not intended to be comprehensive and are only for illustration. With the exception of remissions, the SCO is not bound by these examples.

Inhibiting statements

If in the course of SA work, you identify a case where it may be appropriate to inhibit the issue of statements, make a request to inhibit statement issue to the SCO. Where statements are inhibited the SCO is responsible for the case - see below.

A form to request statement inhibition is provided. You can print a blank copy of the form for manual completion. To print the form

  • Display the form on screen by selecting (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) , and next  
  • Select ‘File’ in the menu bar and then select ‘Print topic’

Where the SCO agrees that statement issue can be stopped, you will be authorised to inhibit statements and provided with any additional instructions. If you receive authority, use function INHIBIT STATEMENT to inhibit statements. Also enter an Action Note in SA Notes.

During the period that the inhibition signal is set, no statements are issued automatically to the taxpayer or agent. The statement selection and creation processes continue normally throughout the inhibition period and the statements that would have been issued can be viewed. But when you view an inhibited statement the words ‘Statement Inhibited’ are displayed above the scrolling area that shows the transactions.

Note: The Statement inhibited signal only prevents the issue of statements. All other printed output, for example penalty notices, is issued normally.

If statement inhibition remains set on the taxpayer record the words ‘Statement Inhibited’ appear on ‘today’s’ statement (or current statement). Any essential information on created statements that are noted ‘Statement Inhibited’ must be notified to the taxpayer or agent manually.

Whenever a Statement inhibited signal is set an entry is created on the ‘Inhibited Statements’ Work List. For more information see subject ‘Inhibited Statements Work List’ (SAM131040).

Use function INHIBIT STATEMENT to unset the inhibition signal and advise the SCO as soon as one or more of the following applies

  • Statement issue can resume. For example, the record has been updated with the name and address of the Personal Representative
  • You are making the record dormant

Or

  • You are closing a Bankruptcy or Voluntary Arrangement case

When the Statement inhibited signal is unset normal statement issue resumes. However the statements that were inhibited whilst the signal was set will not be issued.

Note: It is important for Banking Operations to clearly indicate in SA Notes when their office has inhibited statements. This is so that the SCO in the local office reviewing the Work List can identify these cases. The SCO will approach the Banking Operations office, if the inhibition signal has been set for 3 months or more, to confirm the signal is still appropriate.

Statement Control Officer (SCO) responsibility

When the Statement Control Officer (SCO) authorises inhibition of statements, that case becomes the responsibility of the SCO. Subject to agreement by the SCO, the originator of the inhibition continues to work the case but must liaise with the SCO

  • Before making contact with the taxpayer or agent (or insolvency practitioner), or
  • As frequently as directed by the SCO

Whenever a Statement inhibited signal is set an entry is created on the ‘Inhibited Statements’ Work List. For more information see subject ‘Inhibited Statements Work List’ (SAM131040).

The SCO is responsible for the review of this Work List. The SCO is to contact the SCO in the office with accounting responsibility for confirmation that the inhibition is still appropriate where function MAINTAIN SA NOTES shows that

  • Statements have been inhibited at the request of the office with accounting responsibility, and
  • The inhibition has remained set for 3 months or more

You are reminded that statements are only to be inhibited in exceptional circumstances. Statement inhibition is costly and increases clerical handling. It must be restricted to cases where there is a genuine need.