How we check your tax
You may have received a letter or telephone call asking for information about your tax or arranging a visit so HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) can inspect your records.
HMRC now has a standard system for how it carries out compliance checks (also known as enquiries, visits and inspections) across these taxes:
|From 1 April 2009||From 1 April 2010|
|- Capital Gains Tax
- the Construction Industry Scheme
- Corporation Tax
- Income Tax
|- Aggregates Levy
- Climate Change Levy
- Inheritance Tax
- Insurance Premium Tax
- Landfill Tax
- Petroleum Revenue Tax
- Stamp Duty Land Tax
- Stamp Duty Reserve Tax
HMRC has one set of powers for these taxes to:
- visit businesses to inspect premises, assets and records
- ask taxpayers and third parties for more information and documents
The legislation also provides important safeguards for customers:
- HMRC cannot inspect purely private dwellings without consent
- HMRC must give seven days prior notice of a visit, unless either an unannounced visit is necessary, or a shorter period is agreed
- a new requirement that unannounced visits must be approved beforehand by a specially trained HMRC officer
- a legal requirement for HMRC to act reasonably
Please get your claim in on time
HMRC is also changing the time limits for how far back it can assess you for tax, and how many years back you can reclaim tax. The normal time limits are reducing from six years for Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Corporation Tax to four years, and are increasing from three years to four years for VAT. The changes will largely be in force from 1 April 2010.
This means that the deadlines PAYE taxpayers have to make tax claims for past years are changing. Please check the deadlines and what you need to do to make a claim.
Taxpayers - please see our factsheets, which explain each step of a compliance check. Factsheet 1 is a short summary of the whole process.
During a check an HMRC officer may give you one or more of these factsheets to help you understand what is happening and what your rights are. They will also give you their contact details so you can ask questions about the check.
- Factsheet 1 (PDF 66K)
- Compliance checks factsheets
- Take care to avoid a penalty - Guidance on three new penalties
- If you have any queries or comments please email New Compliance
Tax agents - we have published our guidance to help you understand how the Finance Acts 2008 and 2009 change the way we check your client's tax.