The importance of HMRC making clear its intention to enquire into a taxpayer’s return has wide-reaching implications for taxpayers and HMRC alike. The recent tribunal decision in Credit Suisse Securities provides important guidance on when notice of enquiry is and is not given by HMRC. In particular, the tribunal confirms that a clear distinction exists between ‘informal enquiries’ made by HMRC into self-assessed returns (or indeed ongoing transactions or arrangements) and those which are ‘formal enquiries’. If HMRC intends to shift the discussion from informal enquiries to a formal enquiry, it must actually give notice of its intention to enquire to the taxpayer.
This article was first published in the 20 March 2020 edition of Tax Journal.