Tax Compliance Checks

Your tax affairs may be checked to make sure you are paying the right amount. This can happen if you are an individual taxpayer or if you run a business. 

What HMRC Can Check 

  • HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) will write or phone to say what they want to check. This could be: 
  • any taxes you pay 
  • accounts and tax calculations 
  • your Self Assessment tax return 
  • your Company Tax Return 
  • PAYE records and returns, if you employ people 

If you use an accountant, HMRC will contact them instead. 

To authorise someone other than a tax agent (external link), write to HMRC. Tell them who you want to use and for which tax. 

What Happens During a Check 

HMRC may ask to visit your home, business or an adviser’s office, or ask you to visit them. You can have an accountant or legal adviser with you during a visit.  

You may have to pay a penalty if HMRC sends you an inspection or information notice and you don’t send information or refuse a visit. You will not have to pay a penalty if you have a ‘reasonable excuse’, eg:  

  • you are seriously ill 
  • someone close to you has died 

If you think HMRC should stop the check, write to the office that sent you the letter, giving your reasons why. 

You can apply for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) (external link)at any time if you do not agree with HMRC’s decision or what they are checking. 

After The Check 

  • HMRC will write to tell you the results of the check 

You will be: 

  • repaid if you have paid too much tax - you may also get interest on the amount you are owed 
  • asked to pay additional tax within 30 days if you owe more - you will normally have to pay interest from the date the tax was due 

You may also have to pay a penalty. HMRC will look at: 

  • the reasons why you underpaid or overclaimed the tax 
  • whether you told HMRC as soon as you could 
  • how helpful you have been during the check 

If you have problems paying, tell the officer dealing with the check. 

You can appeal (external link) if you disagree with the decision.