Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

Compliance: enquiry work: opening an enquiry

The Enquiry Manual contains full details about opening an enquiry.

An enquiry made outside a return should 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

More information is available for each of the following subjects

Enquiry window 2006-07 and earlier
Enquiry window 2007-08 onwards
Late returns
Amendments
Examples
Enquiry window expired
S9A enquiry on partners
Student Loan Cases
Enquiry cases: Relevant papers
Enquiry status / Automatic Move status / No Repayment signal

Enquiry window 2006-07 and earlier

If a return is received (or an amendment is made to it) on or before the filing date an enquiry can be opened into it at any time within the 12 months from the filing date. For 2001-02 and later returns with a filing date of 31 January, the last date for enquiry is 31 January of the following year. For return years up to and including 2000-01 where the filing date was 31 January, the last date for enquiry was 30 January of the following year.

Enquiry window 2007-08 onwards

Until 31 March 2008, the time limit for opening enquiries on returns received on, or before the fixed 31 January filing date was the following 31 January.

From 1 April 2008, when a return is received on, or before, the relevant filing deadline, the enquiry window will run for 12 months from the date the return is received. For example, the enquiry window for a return received on 20 June 2012 will run to 20 June 2013.

Late returns

If a return is delivered after the fixed filing date, the enquiry window is extended. The enquiry window in these cases will not close until the next quarter day, following the first anniversary of the day on which the return was received.

Amendments

A taxpayer can make an amendment up to 12 months from the filing date. The amendment does not change the enquiry period for the return, which is explained above. There is however a separate enquiry window for the amendment which is up to the quarter day next, following the anniversary of the date the amendment was made.

The quarter days are 31 January, 30 April, 31 July and 31 October.

From 2007-08, the filing date is

  • 31 October next following the tax year end, for returns filed on paper

Or

  • 31 January next following the tax year end, for returns filed online

Examples

Example 1

The filing date for a 2011-12 paper return is 31/10/2012. Where a return is filed on 17/08/2012, the enquiry window runs to 17/08/2013.

Example 2

If the paper return is received after the filing date, the enquiry window is extended. The enquiry window will, in these cases, remain open until the quarter date following the first anniversary of the date on which the return was received.

The filing date for a 2011-12 paper return is 31/10/2012. Where a return is filed on 10/12/2012, the enquiry window runs for 12 months after the end of the next quarter date. In this case, until 31/01/2014.

Example 3

The filing date for a Notice to Complete a Tax Return for 2011-12 is 31/01/2013. Where an online return is filed on 17/01/2013, the enquiry window runs to 17/01/2014.

Example 4

If an online return is received after the filing date, the enquiry window is extended. The enquiry window will, in these cases, remain open until the quarter date next, following the first anniversary of the date on which the return was received.

The filing date for a Notice to Complete a Tax Return for 2011-12 is 31/01/2013. Where an online return is filed on 10/02/2013, the enquiry window runs for 12 months after the end of the next quarter date (30 April 2013). In this case, the enquiry window runs until 30/04/2014.

More information is given below.

Paper return 2010-2011 - issued 6 April 2011 - filing date 31 October 2011

Return received First Anniversary Next quarter date - LDFE
10 November 2011 10 November 2012 31 January 2013
5 February 2012 5 February 2013 30 April 2013
25 May 2012 25 May 2013 31 July 2013
10 August 2012 10 August 2013 31 October 2013

Online return 2010-2011 - issued 6 April 2011 - filing date 31 January 2012

Return received First Anniversary Next quarter date - LDFE
2 February 2012 2 February 2013 30 April 2013
25 June 2012 25 June 2013 31 July 2013
19 September 2012 19 September 2013 31 October 2013
10 November 2012 10 November 2013 31 January 2014

Return amendments

Return amended First Anniversary Next quarter date - LDFE
12 December 2011 12 December 2012 31 January 2013
25 February 2012 25 February 2013 30 April 2013
2 July 2012 2 July 2013 31 July 2013
10 August 2012 10 August 2013 31 October 2013

Top of page

Enquiry window expired

An enquiry cannot be opened into a return or amendment to the return if either

  • The return or, as appropriate, the amendment has already been the subject of an enquiry

Or

  • The enquiry window has expired

In the above situation you may be able to take action under the discovery provisions. For further information see the Enquiry Manual, and the subject ‘Discovery’ (SAM31050).

S9A enquiry on partners

Prior to issuing a formal notice of your intention to open a S9A enquiry into a partner’s return (or amendment to the partner’s return) in respect of non-partnership income, you must first ask the office with technical responsibility for the partnership SA record for consent to open the enquiry.

Student Loan Cases

Where the taxpayer is liable to make Student Loan repayments through SA, the entry in the Student Loan Case field in function MAINTAIN RETURN SUMMARY should be ‘Y’. Refer to the section ‘Borrower Compliance’ in the Collection of Student Loans (CSL) Manual which contains detailed information relevant to enquiries in these cases. For more information refer to CSL8500. The additional Student Loan repayments need to be calculated using the customer’s correct plan type.  If you are unsure of the plan type, you can call the East Kilbride Student Loans Unit (EKSLU) for assistance. (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

Where the Student Loan Case field is ‘N’ but you discover or suspect that the taxpayer is a borrower, you should follow the guidance in section ‘Unmatched Records’ in the CSL Manual. For more information refer to CSL8540.

Enquiry cases: Relevant papers

If you are opening an enquiry, the Risk Team will provide you with a Standard Information Package (SIP) containing sufficient information to address the risk(s) identified.

Enquiry status / Automatic Move status / No Repayment signal

When the SA record is updated to register a S9A enquiry, the computer updates the enquiry status (SAM31080) on the SA record and sets

  • The Enquiry Case message in the most commonly used SA functions

The message ‘Enquiry Case’ indicates that there is, or has been, a S9A or S12AC enquiry.

This message will be displayed in functions most commonly used in day to day work.

These functions are

* VIEW CASE SUMMARY
* VIEW TAXPAYER DESIGNATORY DETAILS
* MAINTAIN RETURN SUMMARY
* MAINTAIN SA NOTES
* VIEW STATEMENT

A S12AC enquiry into a partnership return will result in the message being displayed on the linked partners’ records, even if S9A enquiries have not been opened into the partners’ returns.

This message will remain on the SA record until the later of

* One year after the filing date of the latest year under enquiry

Or

* The settlement date of the last enquiry to be settled
  • Automatic Move (SAM31070) status to ‘N’
  • No Repayment signal to ‘Y’

Note: S59B(4A) TMA 1970 allows all or part of a repayment to be withheld in the period from opening an enquiry to issue of a closure notice

When the SA record is updated to register a S12AC enquiry, the computer updates the enquiry status and sets the Automatic Move status to ‘N’ on the partnership SA record. The computer also updates the enquiry status on the linked partners’ SA records for the relevant year unless

  • The partner’s SA record is already linked to an SA partnership record on which there is a open S12AC enquiry for the same year
  • The linked partner is a company

On updating the enquiry status on the partner’s SA record the computer also sets

  • The Enquiry Case message
  • Automatic Move status to ‘N’

And

  • No Repayment signal to ‘Y’