“No formal investigation? No problem!” by Mark McLaughlin CTA (Fellow) ATT (Fellow) TEP is a consultant with The TACS Partnership LLP, editor and a co-author of HMRC Investigations Handbook

Mark McLaughlin looks at informal enquiries by HMRC and information notices issued during such enquiries.

The well-trodden path by HMRC when launching enquiries into an individual’s tax return is to issue a notice under TMA 1970, s 9A. A formal enquiry follows a structured process, which provides HMRC with certain powers, and importantly affords taxpayers some statutory protections. For example:

If the taxpayer has filed a self-assessment return and HMRC has not opened a formal enquiry into it, HMRC cannot issue an information notice in respect of that return except in certain limited circumstances (FA 2008, Sch 36, para 21).

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