Have you been given an enquiry notification from HMRC? Do not worry as this does not always mean that something is wrong. Find out more by reading below.

What does a notification from HMRC mean?

If you receive a notification from HMRC then do not worry as this does not automatically mean that something is wrong.

In some cases, a notification can simply mean that HMRC need some more information from you to make sure that your return is correct.

You should also be aware that if you receive a notification do not worry too much as returns are selected at random for enquiries to make sure that the system is fair.

What should I do if HMRC make an enquiry?

If you receive an enquiry from HMRC then it is important that you are co-operative and willing to be open by giving them any information that they may need.

You should know that if an enquiry results to a penalty the tax payers behavior and attitude is considered when deciding the final outcome. So, it is important to be willing to provide any information that is requested.

What information will I need?

It is important that you have accurate records for your business, as ultimately this is the only form of defense to dispute any claims made against the business.

You should make sure that you keep a file for the enquiry to keep records of all communication such as records of telephone conversations with HMRC with names, dates and the content that was covered as well as copies of documentation that has been sent.

How long is the process of an enquiry?

In most cases enquiries are usually straight forward and can be resolved quickly.

But, some enquiries can be dragged on and as a last resort option the taxpayer can apply to a tribunal for a decision from HMRC to either give a closure notice or a partial closure notice within a specified time period.

This course of action can help move things along by reminding HMRC of its existence.

How can I make a dispute against my case?

If you do not agree with the decision or the case made against you by HMRC then it is possible to make a dispute. If you want to go down this route, then HMRC offer an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service.

This service is an alternative way of resolving tax disputes with an independent facilitator, that will mediate the discussions between the business and the HMRC caseworker to aim to resolve the dispute.

ADR can be used during any stage of an enquiry, even before or after a decision has been made by HMRC to appeal against.

For example:

  • Where the process of an enquiry has stalled
  • During a compliance check when the business and HMRC cannot reach an agreement
  • At the end of a compliance check, when a decision has been made that can be appealed against

If you believe that the communication between HMRC and your business has broken down, then this may be the best route to take as the ADR service is useful if there is information that is missing.

You can submit an application that will be assessed by HMRC within 30 days which will advise you if your case is suitable for the ADR process.

Further Actions

Make sure that you are always prepared for an enquiry from HMRC by ensuring that you keep accurate up to date records for your business. If an unexpected enquiry did arise you will always be prepared and have the right documents to hand.

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