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HMRC internal manual

Technical Teams Operational Guidance

Case review and registration: considering all available sources of information: keeping other HMRC business units informed while review proceeds

Close liaison between SI and case-owning offices is essential.

Cases received through the Evasion Referral Team (ERT) should be handled in line with the guidance for that process (information about the Evasion Referral Process can be found through the A-Z on the HMRC intranet site).

For non ERT Reviews an acknowledgement memo should be sent to the office making the submission. The memo should:

  • refer to the submission
  • state the date of receipt in SI
  • confirm the SI reference
  • the name and telephone number of the SI Investigator
  • tell them the turnaround time for the completion of the Review.

A copy of the memo should be held on the Review papers.

Our aim where we do not need to carry out any background investigation will be to complete the review within 20 working days of receipt of the file in 90 per cent of cases.

Where background investigation is required our aim is to give a decision within 90 working days, but after having advised the office which made the referral of the position and the likely response time within 20 working days of receipt.

Where exceptionally 90 working days is insufficient we will advise of likely further delays and the reasons. In all cases we will ensure the office which made the referral has the facility for continuing their normal day-to-day work whilst the file is with SI.

The responsibility is on both the Investigator and Team Leader to ensure that this Customer Service commitment is met. If there is a problem in meeting the turnaround time commitment the immediate difficulty can usually be eased by the Investigator explaining the position over the telephone.

The longer term problem of how the Review is to be completed is a matter for the Investigator and their Team Leader to agree priorities. If an Investigator becomes so overloaded that existing Review cases cannot be completed within the turnaround times then their Team Leader will have to consider reallocation (see TTOG3230 and TTOG3235).

When a submission is unsuitable for registration it must go back to the submitting office with a proper explanation and advice for the future conduct of the case.

It is part of SI’s role to pass on its expertise and encourage investigation work throughout the Department. Full and constructive advice on returned cases are one of the most effective methods by which ideas and best practice can be disseminated.

Investigators should advise rather than instruct these offices to undertake actions. Similarly Investigators should not suggest that these offices continue or initiate an investigation in any way that contradicts the operating procedures and guidance for those offices.

Investigators should not try to work investigation cases at one step removed. By all means suggest that these offices contact the Investigator again if there are new developments but they must not be given the impression in a case that it is only a matter of time before it gets registered at SI.