Generally handled by Local Compliance Offices, investigations into Self Assessments are now quite regular.
HMRC need no excuse to open enquiries into Self Assessment Returns and now, with the Finance Act 2008, they can actually open enquiries into assessments not yet received.
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The pattern of investigation work laid down in 1976 continued largely unchanged (apart from HMRC’s gradually increased powers) until the introduction of Self Assessment.
Self Assessment brought a new investigation (renamed “enquiry”) procedure which gave HMRC the right to make enquiries with no obligation to give a reason and no requirement to demonstrate dissatisfaction with the Return as submitted.
Its introduction coincided with some reorganisation within HMRC and the splitting of traditional, local district structure. Routine compliance work being concentrated in Taxpayers’ Services Offices (TSO’s) with enquiry work concentrated in Taxpayers’ District Offices (TDO’s).
HMRC do not have to have any grounds of suspicion to institute enquiries under Self Assessment. However where HMRC’s initial information gathering shows grounds for serious risk of tax loss, the case is likely to be worked on similar grounds to the “old” style investigation case.
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