EM0305 - Determine who can support the enquiry: co-ordination between offices
As well as general compliance offices and compliance centres, specialist teams will make enquiries into individuals’ and companies’ tax affairs.
Specialist teams include
- High Net Worth Unit (HNWU)
- Trusts and Estates
- Large Business Service (LBS)
- CITEX Operations
- Individuals and Public Bodies
- Large and Complex
- Small and Medium Enterprises
- Criminal Investigations (CI)
- Specialist Investigations (SI)
- Local Compliance Civil Investigation of Fraud (LC CIF)
- Local Compliance Integrated Intervention Teams
- Cross Tax Evasion Teams
Problems may arise if more than one compliance officer has an interest in the same taxpayer and independently either
- opens an enquiry, or
- concludes an enquiry.
Any of the specialist teams either could have an interest in a case or may have already opened an enquiry or other type of compliance check. Normally the case owner will be recorded on the ITSA or CTSA system.
For example, High Net Worth Unit cases are identified by a red CPR Case signal and the free format note which says “This is a HNWU case dealt with at xxxx”. The telephone number and usually the case owner is also shown.
All compliance officers and teams must co-ordinate enquiry work to avoid raising independent enquiries*.
*Note: How this is achieved will depend on local circumstances, but the objective must be to construct a process that will prevent high risk cases escaping attention.
The case owner should ensure early discussions take place with all interested parties to produce an Intervention Plan or use Caseflow to
- identify all areas of risk,
- establish responsibilities, and
- create timescales for addressing those responsibilities.
Decisions on who leads the enquiry and how they liaise with other business areas involved will vary depending on the circumstances of each individual case. Everyone involved should be aware of
- the need for timely action,
- the deadline for opening the enquiry, and
- the avoidance of delay.
Note: Any delay could lead to prematurely concluding the enquiry following a successful application by the taxpayer to the tribunal, see EM1975+.
Enquiries involving specialist units or teams will fall into two main categories.
- Enquiries where the specialist unit will assume responsibility for addressing all identified risks on a case, and
- enquiries where the specialist unit consider only certain aspects of a case
Where the specialist unit assumes responsibility for addressing all identifiable risks on a case the ownership responsibility will rest with them.
Where the specialist unit considers only certain aspects you will normally retain case ownership responsibility.
You must agree with the specialist unit
- which returns each of you are responsible for dealing with, and / or
- which aspects of returns under enquiry each of you are responsible for.
You should review and update the agreement as the case progresses, ensuring that each party receives regular updates on the progress of the enquiry.
Note: The important point is to ensure that nobody closes the enquiry prematurely because of poor liaison.