HMRC Enquiries: What To Do When They Get In Touch!

I don't think anyone looks forward to a conversation with HMRC as long-hold times and ongoing enquiries are both inconvenient and stressful. In reality, though, there's nothing usually to worry about ...

So, how do you emerge unscathed from an HMRC enquiry? Well, the first thing to note is that they're not running a witch hunt, and they're not out to get you.

In most cases:

- they just want to be sure that you're up to date with the returns you're supposed to submit
- they want to be certain you're paying the right amount of tax (you could be paying too much!)
- if you're not up to date with paperwork or payments, they want to help get it sorted in a manner that's right for you
- and if you're not communicating with them, they want to know why

There are a few good reasons as to why HMRC will open an enquiry about you. If you've submitted tax returns before and haven't for a number of years, and if you're submitting tax returns, but the amount of tax you owe is growing year on year.

In most cases, this can all be sorted out with a phone call. Returns can be submitted, and payment plans can be created. They'll either write to you or email you, and if you don't contact them after that, then they will call you.

"It's only after all this that you may get a visit from a tax inspector!"

Of course, it's always a good idea to deal with whatever issue HMRC has with you immediately. Get it sorted and out of the way, and you can forget about it. This is where your accountant or tax adviser can help you by dealing with them directly for you.

Just don't panic if you get a knock on the door. Yes, you should have dealt with the issue sooner, but tax inspectors aren't ogres, and they genuinely want to help you.

Have good records, be honest with them and deal with the issue in a timely manner. Be friendly and professional and never ignore HMRC, especially if a tax inspector is involved.

The most common outcome from an HMRC enquiry is that you emerge from it with a plan that you both agree to. If you're behind on your paperwork, then you can speak to your accountant and get all of your returns done quickly.

"If you're behind with your tax payments, then they'll work out a payment plan that's right for you!"

It's when you try to deceive HMRC or conceal something from them that their focus on you becomes more intense, which could mean you end up at a tribunal, in court ... or worse.

My advice is always to speak to your accountant or tax adviser as soon as HMRC contact you and get the issue sorted as quickly as possible.

If you'd like to find out more about anything I've written here, do call me on 01908 774323 or leave a comment below and let's see how I can help you.