Section 9a Enquiries

These are perhaps the most common form of HMRC enquiries - investigations into individuals personal self-assessment tax returns.

We appreciate this does not mean they are any less serious or stressful that business tax investigations, perhaps sometimes even more so, when HMRC want to review all personal financial data, sometimes covering a lot of information and documentation, over a prolonged period.

We regularly assist both current and new clients through this process always using our experience and expertise in the following key areas;

  • Reducing the length of time the enquiry is open
  • Minimizing the tax burden
  • Reducing the level of associated interest payable
  • Negotiating with HMRC in order to limit any penalty charges

Recently we inherited a case from another firm of accountants, as they enquiry had reached a statement, primarily due to a communication breakdown.

Whilst the additional personal tax liabilities had almost been agreed, the enquiry could not be concluded in view of the large penalty charges issued by HMRC, which the individuals found incredibly difficult to accept.

After being engaged to act, we reviewed the enquiry correspondence to date, and examined the "behaviors" assessed by HMR when calculating the penalty charges issued. We then re-opened the lines of communication with the HMRC Inspectors and were able to discuss the penalty position in some detail.

After utilising our experience to determine the key information that HMRC could consider when assessing penalties, setting out these main factors to HMRC in this particular case, and putting together an alternative offer, HMRC agreed to apply a vastly reduced penalty level.

Not only this, but because HMRC accepted all our points in relation to the behaviors we were able to ensure that HMRC agreed to suspend collection of all penalties for a 12 month period, and no penalties would be payable at all if there were no further errors in that time.

This case could thereafter be concluded swiftly, with a result that was acceptable to all parties involved, highlighting the benefit of understanding the enquiry legislation when dealing with HMRC during a testing time.

Self Assessment Enquiries

A 'discovery' assessment can be opened when HMRC become aware that amounts reported within a self assessment tax return were omitted or insufficient. They may also open an investigation if excessive relief had been claimed.

HMRC generally have 4 years from the end of the tax year to which the error relates to open a discovery' investigation, however this can be extended to 20 years where HMRC view the loss of tax was caused deliberately.

Theses investigations can involve taxpayers who have not previously completed any self assessment tax returns and are required by HMRC to bring their tax affairs up to date, or relate to a situation where all returns have been filed on time, but an error has been made.

Whether you are an individual, sole trader, partner in a partnership or act as a Trustee, our specialist team would help resolve your problems by:

  • providing clarity and formulating a plan to deal with the investigation;
  • handling all communications with HMRC;
  • preparing or reviewing HMRC calculations relevant to your tax affairs to determine any tax liability due as a result of the enquiry;
  • negotiating penalty and interest charges; and
  • seeking early closure of the enquiry

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