Requesting closure of a compliance check

By Tolley

The following Corporation Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Requesting closure of a compliance check
  • Open compliance checks
  • Number and frequency of applications
  • Application to the Tribunal
  • Hearing before the Tribunal
  • Consequences of Tribunal decision
  • Appeals
  • Alternative dispute resolution

At any time during the course of a compliance check, a taxpayer may apply to the Tribunal for a direction that HMRC should issue a closure notice within a period specified by the Tribunal.

TMA 1970, s 28A(4) (for individuals and trustees) TMA 1970, s 28B(5) (for partnerships) FA 1998, Sch 18, para 33(1) (for companies)

Please note that this guidance note uses the term ‘compliance check’ in line with HMRC’s current terminology. However, the term ‘enquiry’ is still used in the referenced legislation.

Open compliance checks

An application for a closure notice will relate to formal compliance checks opened by HMRC under TMA 1970, s 9A (for individuals and trustees), TMA 1970, s 12AC (for partnerships) or FA 1998 Sch 18, para 24 (for companies). Closure applications can only be made in relation to compliance checks opened using these formal powers.

An adviser should be mindful of this process and the protection offered to the taxpayer from a legislative framework if an informal check has been requested.

If informal checks have been made by HMRC, consideration should be given to asking the HMRC Officer concerned to discontinue or place the check on a formal footing (if the time limit for opening a check into the particular period has not expired). If the check is then placed on a formal footing, rather than being closed, an application to the Tribunal for a direction that HMRC should issue a closure notice can then be made.

See the Types of checks on returns guidance note for more on whether the compliance check is formal or informal.

In some instances where informal checks have been made, it may not be possible to place these on a formal footing due to expired time limits and the taxpayer will, therefore, have no formal recourse for requesting closure if HMRC initially resists completing

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