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HMRC’s investigatory powers outside the normal enquiry limits

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Taxpayers want certainty and sometimes count the days until HMRC’s deadline to open an enquiry expires with no letter thudding onto their doormat, in the mistaken belief that their tax position for that year is now final. Decisions in Hunter and JJ Management reinforce the view that HMRC is empowered by CRCA 2005 to request information and check or investigate taxpayers’ tax positions without using statutory enquiry or information powers. However, formal information notices may be issued if taxpayers choose not to comply voluntarily. The temporal brake on HMRC’s actions is a combination of discovery assessment time limits and staleness.

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