What is the HMRC Compliance Team and what do they do?
The Compliance Team is the name for that part of HMRC responsible for ensuring that the correct amounts of tax are being paid, or claimed. Much of the work carried out by this team is formed of ‘compliance checks’ which can also be referred to as enquiries, investigations, inspections or assurance visits. In all cases, they are HRMC checking up on an individual or company to see if the law is being kept, and the Exchequer receiving its due.
What Triggers a Compliance Check?
In most cases, it is either wrongly entered figures, or sudden shifts in claim amounts that prompt a closer look by the Compliance Team. An obvious scenario would be when a business with a significant turnover only declares a small amount of tax. The Compliance Team then steps in to assess what wrongdoing, if any, has taken place and what measures may be necessary to follow up.
What HMRC can check
Areas of interest may be:
- Accounts and tax calculations
- Your previous tax returns (both personal and company)
- PAYE Records and Returns
Can you refuse a Compliance Check?
The only reasons for refusing a visit by HMRC to discuss compliance matters would be in situations whether you have suffered a bereavement or are facing serious health issues. It is your right to contact the office which sent you the compliance letter but, the postponement will be the only outcome you could hope for.
What does a compliance check entail?
HMRC’s compliance team may visit your home, place of work, or the office of your tax adviser, or summon you to a face to face meeting. After this check you will be informed by mail as to their findings, and whether any penalty is to be charged. It is within your rights to appeal if you feel these findings are unfair.