Have HMRC refused to tell you why you are being investigated?

 In HMRC, Litigation and Settlement Strategy, Openness

I’m continuing to work on the next Tax-Hell book: Complaining: What HMRC Don’t Want You To Know. Frequently HMRC investigators open an investigation without telling you what they are investigating – when this happens quote the Litigation and Settlement Strategy at them, which states that it’s their policy to “be open” and “work collaboratively”.

Have HMRC refused to tell you why you are being investigated?

HMRC are under no legal obligation to tell you why they have opened their investigation. The traditional approach is to simply send you a letter saying that they are enquiring into your tax return.

They will then ask for documents and invite you into a meeting – all without telling you what the investigation is about, so you might be providing documents and going into a meeting completely blind.

You can make a strong argument to HMRC that they are required be much more open. You should certainly find out what has triggered the investigation.

Quote from the Litigation and Settlement Strategy to support your request for more information: under the heading Handling Disputes the document reads,

HMRC will seek to handle disputes non-confrontationally and by working collaboratively with the customer wherever possible… A collaborative approach requires all parties to be open, transparent and focused on resolving the dispute… HMRC will seek to articulate early the point(s) in dispute… HMRC will aim early on to articulate the basis of its enquiries.”

The full HMRC Litigation and Settlement Strategy document here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/litigation-and-settlement-strategy-lss

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