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HMRC internal manual

Self Assessment Manual

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Compliance: enquiry work: enquiry window

The enquiry window is the time during which HMRC has the opportunity to start an enquiry into a Self Assessment return for a particular year.

For years up to and including 2006-07

Where the return is filed on or before the filing date, the enquiry window ends 12 months after the filing date. The last date for enquiry is 31 January of the following year.

Example 1

Filing date for a 2006-07 return is 31/01/2008.

Return is filed on or before this date.

The enquiry window runs to 31/01/2009.

Where the return is filed late, after the filing date, the enquiry window ends on the quarter date following the first anniversary of the date on which the return was filed.

Example 2

Filing date for a 2006-07 return is 31/01/2008.

Return is filed late, on 10/02/2008.

The enquiry window runs to 12 months after the end of the next quarter date, that is, in this example the enquiry window ends on 30/04/2009.

For years 2007-08 and later

Where the return is filed on or before the filing date, the enquiry window runs to the end of the period of 12 months after the date on which the return was received.

Where the return is filed late, after the filing date, then the enquiry window runs to the quarter date next following the first anniversary of the date on which the return was received. The quarter dates are 31 January, 30 April, 31 July and 31 October.

Example 3

Filing date for a 2007-08 paper return is 31/10/08, and for a return filed online is 31/01/09.

Return (paper or online) is filed on 25/06/08 (on time).

The enquiry window runs up to the end of the period of 12 months after the date on which the return was filed. In this example, it would be 26/06/2008 to 25/06/2009.

Example 4

Filing date for a 2007-08 paper return is 31/10/08.

A paper return is filed late, on 15/11/08.

The enquiry window runs up to and including, the quarter date 12 months after the date on which the return was filed. In this example, return filed on 15/11/2008, 12 months after this date is 15/11/2009, the end of the next quarter date and therefore the date to which the enquiry runs is 31/01/2010.

Example 5

Filing date for a 2007-08 online return is 31/01/09.

An online return is filed late, on 15/04/09.

The enquiry window runs up to and including the quarter date 12 months after the date on which the return was filed. In this example, return filed on 15/04/2009, 12 months after this date is 15/04/2010, the next quarter date after this and date to which the enquiry window runs is 30/04/2010.

Note:

For an enquiry to be valid, the opening letter for a S9A (or S12AC) enquiry must be received by the taxpayer (or nominated partner, see subject ‘Maintain Taxpayer Record: Nominated Partner’ (SAM101290) by the end of this enquiry window.

Unless evidence is provided as to the date of receipt of the opening letter, you should assume that

  • If it is posted second class, it is received 4 working days after you post it
  • If it is posted first class, it is received 2 working days after you post it

For example, if you post an opening letter on Friday by second class post, you should assume it is received on the following Thursday (assuming no public holidays in the meantime).