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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Compliance: enquiry work: introduction

HMRC can enquire into an SA return, an amendment made to the return, or a claim made outside the return under the authority of

  • S9A TMA 1970 for an individual, pension scheme or trust
  • S12AC TMA 1970 for a partnership
  • Sch 1A paragraph 5 TMA 1970 for a claim outside a return

The Enquiry Manual contains

  • Full instructions about working an enquiry, but it does not tell you what SA or CQI Workbench functions to use when dealing with enquiry aspects
  • Details of the legislation relating to enquiry work. These include time limits for opening an enquiry, documentation that can be asked for during an enquiry and the conduct of an enquiry. Cross references to the relevant parts of TMA 1970 are made in the Enquiry Manual
  • Copies of forms available from Excel, SEES then ‘Forms and Letters’ which are relevant to enquiry work

The CQI Workbench provides enquiry support for

  • Entering enquiry details
  • Planning and recording progress of enquiry work

Certain details entered on the CQI Workbench will be recorded on the SA system overnight. Additionally, information such as adjustments and settlement details are passed to InfoNet.

The SA system provides enquiry support for

  • Enquiry amendments made to the return and recording of enquiry related penalties, except in contract settlement cases (SAM31060), on SA records
  • Entering a charge arising from a Revenue assessment
  • Informally discharging unpaid liability which has been included in contract settlements


1. TSS support is available for making Revenue assessments.
2. Informal discharge: Where the Enquiry Officer has negotiated a contract settlement, and it has been accepted, function CREATE INFORMAL DISCHARGE allows him or her to clear all outstanding liabilities included in the contract settlement. The payments on account, where they are due, need to be re-set. You do not need to confirm that the contract settlement has been paid before using the discharge facility.
  The unpaid debits must be discharged in full. You cannot informally discharge part only of the liability.
  The function MAINTAIN INFORMAL DISCHARGE allows the Enquiry Officer to cancel a previously recorded informal discharge.
  When an informal discharge is made, amended (as an automatic consequence of other action) or cancelled, a work item is created on the ‘Informal Discharge Review’ list. This Work List is allocated to the Compliance Manager in the offices with processing and technical responsibility.

Computer support is not available for enquiries made into claims outside a return. For details about such enquiries refer to the Enquiry Manual. An enquiry made into claim outside a return should, however, be noted on the SA record by using

  • Function ADD / AMEND ANNUAL COMPLIANCE DETAILS for the year of the claim to note in the Review Notes field that an enquiry has been carried out into the claim. If an enquiry is subsequently opened into the return containing the claim the note will ensure the Enquiry Officer is aware that an enquiry has already been carried out on this aspect. You cannot open a second enquiry into the same claim if it is subsequently included in a return, unless you can raise queries under the discovery provisions

Except where it is necessary to emphasise certain issues, the SA Manual does not duplicate material from the Enquiry Manual. The aim of the SA Manual is to tell you what SA and CQI Workbench functions to use during the various stages of enquiry work.