Tax Investigations Update
Although this is pending a final decision, HMRC has finished piloting a Single Compliance Process (SCP) in March this year which looks likely to be rolled out.
SCP is a framework for carrying out all tax investigations in a standardised way, however, a bugbear of the scheme was that HMRC side-stepped the accountant, going instead straight to the tax payer for information. This approach was causing some problems.
The general consensus was that this put tax payers at a disadvantage by catching them unawares, so HMRC has now changed this strategy. From now on, it looks likely HMRC will contact the tax payer, giving the timescale of a week for the company decide whether they’d like HMRC to deal with the business directly or via their accountant. In cases where the business does not reply, HMRC’s first port of call will be the accountant. In any case, we would advise getting the accountant involved early on in any enquiry, which will result in a better outcome.