HMRC Compliance Checks and Self-Assessment Investigations.

HMRC carries out Compliance Checks to make sure that your tax returns are correct. A Compliance Check can be anything from a five-minute phone call to a major tax investigation.

The investigations are rarely selected at random. HMRC’s database system, ‘Connect’, checks the accuracy of Self-Assessment Returns and Claims. More than 90% of investigations start because HMRC holds intelligence suggesting something is wrong.

HMRC uses its powerful Schedule 36 information and inspection powers to assist its investigation. HMRC shouldn't make speculative enquiries, the officer should be able to justify the use of its powers.

Compliance Check investigations can be stressful for individuals and businesses. Clients and advisers should ask themselves these questions:

  • Do you feel comfortable dealing with HMRC?
  • Do you have up-to-date knowledge of HMRC's latest powers?
  • Is HMRC's approach or any Schedule 36 request for information or documents reasonable?
  • Is what seemed a straightforward Compliance Check investigation now escalating out of control?
  • Are you able to manage and control HMRC?
  • Are there any errors in your tax/VAT affairs that you should disclose?
  • Are you concerned about being publicised as a serious tax defaulter?
  • Is there another way of addressing your tax affairs to secure a better settlement with HMRC?

If you're under investigation and haven't paid the correct amount of tax, you should consider specialist representation. In more serious cases, HMRC could consider the case for criminal investigation.


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Watch: Top questions about HMRC tax investigations