HM Revenue and Customs Enquiry and Investigations during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Insights 17.04.2020 Author: Martina Fitzgerald

Currently, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are writing to businesses and individuals who are under enquiry advising that due to COVID-19 they are not requesting information or documents and will not chase for responses to requests already made. 

In some cases they are suspending enquiries due to HMRC staff being moved to assist with the COVID-19 Government packages. This is a postponement rather than a cancellation of the enquiry. However, in some cases, putting the enquiry on hold may not necessarily be the best option because for many business and individuals they will be looking to focus on recovery once lockdown is over. It would make sense to use any down time now to deal with the HMRC’s questions. Before accepting HMRC’s proposal in suspending the enquiry, advice should be taken to ensure this is right for you.

In February, HMRC sent letters to individuals with offshore assets, income or gains based on information received through exchange of information agreements with overseas jurisdictions. HMRC have advised that they will not chase responses to these letters. However, it is advisable to let HMRC know why a response can’t be provided for example, that you are not domiciled in the UK and have declared all that you believe you should have declared to HMRC. HMRC have confirmed that they have not scheduled any other letters regarding overseas assets during the lockdown period. 

What next?

If you have received such a letter from HM Revenue and Customs, we suggest you speak to us to ensure that your tax affairs are in order and for advice on how to respond to HMRC.