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HMRC’s assessment powers: key considerations

Speed read
HMRC’s assessment powers vary depending on the tax at issue but there are common themes. HMRC’s main route to replace a taxpayer’s self-assessment is usually subject to a 12 month enquiry window but they generally (subject to conditions) have four years to issue a discovery assessment which rises to six years for careless 20 years for deliberate behaviour and 20 years where the taxpayer has failed to file without reasonable excuse. Offshore personal tax cases allow HMRC to bring an assessment within 12 years. For VAT this is the later of two years after the end of the VAT period being assessed or one year from the knowledge justifying the assessment subject to a four-year long-stop from the end of the relevant accounting period which is increased to 20 years for deliberate behaviour. For SDLT the time limits are similarly four six or...

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