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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Compliance: enquiry work: opening an enquiry

The Enquiry Manual contains full details about opening an enquiry.

The CQI Workbench provides computer support for S9A and S12AC enquiries.

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

More information is available for each of the following subjects

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 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 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

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.

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.

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.

Register an enquiry on the CQI Workbench

In most cases, enquiry cases will be opened from entries on the Profile Work List, Mandatory Review List or Mandatory Enquiry List in CQI. If, exceptionally, it is necessary to open an enquiry on a case that is not yet on a CQI Work List, you will need to liaise with the Risk Team to remedy this.

There may be occasions where an enquiry is opened but it was not possible to send the case to the Work List on the CQI Workbench before the last date for enquiry. In these cases, an entry on the CQI Workbench should be created using CQI function CREATE ITSA DISCOVERY, with a record type of ‘Other’. Follow the guidance in the Action Guide ‘Opening an enquiry: Using ITSA Discovery records’ (SAM31021) when creating these records.

When you issue a notice of your intention to enquire into a return (or amendment to the return) you should use CQI Workbench function ENQUIRY DETAILS to register the opening of the enquiry. The function is used for

  • An individual, pension scheme or trust to register the opening of a S9A enquiry into the taxpayer’s return (or amendment to the return)
  • A partnership to register the opening of a S12AC enquiry into the partnership return (or amendment to the return). The opening of the S12AC enquiry is also recorded automatically on linked partners’ SA records (unless the partner is a company)

On using the function to open an enquiry, the following details of the enquiry must be entered

  • Enquiry type
  • Bus/Non-Bus

Business and Non-business relate to the type of enquiry being opened and not necessarily to the full information on the return.

For example, if you open an aspect enquiry into allowances, you would enter ‘Non-business’ even if the taxpayer was in business or had income from property.

‘Business’ covers those cases where the enquiry is about

* Income arising from self employment

Or  


* Income from property

Note: Property income counts as business income for the purposes of segmentation  

‘Non-business’ covers enquiries not falling into the categories above.

  • Segment type
  • Turnover (if ‘Business’ has been entered in the Bus/Non-Bus field)
  • Start date

The start date is the date of issue of the notice of your intention to enquire into the return (or amendment to the return). There is a statutory obligation to issue a notice under

* S9A TMA 1970 for an enquiry into an individual’s, pension scheme’s or trust’s return (or amendment to the return)
* S12AC TMA 1970 for an enquiry into a partnership return (or amendment to the return)

Note: Take care on entering the ‘Start date’ as this cannot be amended after completing the function. ‘Bus/Non-Bus’, ‘Segment type’ and ‘Turnover’ can only be amended by the Compliance Manager. Also, if the ‘Enquiry type’ is entered as ‘Full’ it cannot be amended later to ‘Aspect’ 

The enquiry type, start date and details identifying the case owner will be passed to the SA system overnight to update the SA record.

It is recommended that the following notes are also made on the SA record

  • In function AMEND TAXPAYER SIGNALS enter the name of the case owner, a contact telephone number and location (sufficient to allow post to be directed to the appropriate Enquiry Officer) in the Free Format Notes field. This information should be updated when necessary
  • In function MAINTAIN SA NOTES record the Enquiry Reference

After using function ENQUIRY DETAILS, any work items relating to the taxpayer for the year of enquiry are deleted from the following compliance Work Lists on the CQI Workbench

  • ‘Mandatory Enquiry’
  • ‘Mandatory Review’
  • ‘Profiles’

Note: Anywork items on the CQI Workbench for the partners are not deleted when a S12AC enquiry is opened on a linked partnership record

The case will also be placed on the Open Enquiries List in the CQI Workbench.

Whilst a S9A enquiry is open (or a S12AC enquiry is shown as open on a partner’s SA record) enquiry amendments needed to the individual’s, pension scheme’s or trust’s return are made for the year of enquiry using either

  • Function AMEND RETURN FOR ENQUIRY

Or

  • Function CREATE RETURN CHARGE FOR ENQUIRY

Enquiry status / Automatic Move status / No Repayment signal

When the SA record is updated after you have used CQI Workbench function ENQUIRY DETAILS 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 after you have used CQI Workbench function ENQUIRY DETAILS 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 in the most commonly used SA functions
  • Automatic Move status to ‘N’

And

  • No Repayment signal to ‘Y’

Note: This does not apply where the enquiry record was set up using CQI Workbench function CREATE ITSA DISCOVERY. For these cases, you should follow the guidance in the Action Guide ‘Opening an enquiry: Using ITSA Discovery records’ (SAM31021).