HMRC hits the pause button on tax investigations

HMRC have suspended all compliance activities indefinitely apart from cases where the customer is actively engaged and communicating. HMRC at this time will not contact the agent or customer unless the customer/agent contacts them. HMRC are informing customers in various way via email, phone calls and letters.

Jesmin Rahman, a tax specialist and director at Tax Resolute, said: “Taxpayers who are being subjected to compliance checks have mainly stated that they want to proceed with the compliance checks or tax investigations in order to come to a resolution as it would be difficult to pick up on the progress of the case smoothly after an indefinite period of postponement. The cases can at least be worked to the point of agreeing quantified figures for the tax assessments and penalties.

“HMRC caseworkers have been internally advised in general not to issue any schedule 36 information notice or tax assessments and penalties at this time as HMRC understand that this is distressing time for all and there are reduced resources on all fronts. There will be no new cases opened by HMRC until the Covid-19 virus situation is alleviated.”

There are exceptions to the postponement of compliance activity where there are issues of VAT repayments as this would ease the cashflow for trades and where HMRC will have to meet statutory deadlines for example:

  • Offshore tax cases.
  • Discovery assessments.
  • COP 9 cases where it is not possible to postpone the progress of the case.

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