How far can HMRC go back?

 In HMRC Investigation, Investigation, Powers


This is one of the most Frequently Asked Questions by visitors to this site.

The answer is:

After HMRC have opened their investigation into their initial enquiry year. They may want to open earlier years.

  • If there have been no mistakes and your paperwork and accounting is in order they are not allowed to look into earlier years – though they may still try it on.
  • If there has been a mistake (and you can prove this is not down to your negligence) then they can go back four years.
  • If the underpayment has been made because of your negligence (for example you weren’t keeping proper records) HMRC can go back six years.
  • If HMRC believe you have deliberately set out underpay tax illegally they can try to go back twenty years.
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