A6.405 Opening an enquiry and requesting documents and information
Openness & Early Dialogue approach to opening enquiries
HMRC's approach to opening enquiries is called 'Openness & Early Dialogue' in which taxpayers and their agents are advised whether the enquiry is 'full' or 'aspect' (see A6.402), and why the enquiry has been opened1.
Additionally, at the start of the enquiry, HMRC aim to agree with the taxpayer and/ or their agent an explicit, but flexible, timescale for:
• an initial meeting, or a telephone call in certain cases
• the production of information and documents
• the records examination, and
• a discussion of findings
HMRC provide further guidance on the working of enquiries in their internal guidance manual, the Enquiry Handbook2.
Notice of enquiry
There is no defined legislative format for the notice of enquiry other than that the notice may specify or describe the information or documents to be provided or produced3. No minimum time limit is specified by the legislation, but the specified period must be reasonable4. Additionally, case law has commented on the format of the notice (see below). A simple notice of the intention to ask questions can suffice as a notice so long as it is delivered to the taxpayer within the enquiry window (see A6.401).
HMRC will usually issue a letter referencing the legislation under which the enquiry is being opened. HMRC also usually states the specific concerns identified in the case and asks for an initial response from the taxpayer (or appointed agent) by a date
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