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Compliance check - what documents can they ask for

slightly worrying?

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My friend has had a letter allegedly from HMRC requesting information regarding her tax return for a compliance check.  Boring but fine, whatever.  They have, however, also asked her to send her bank statements, passport and driving licence (presumably they have asked for copies rather than originals but I have not seen the letter).

Does this sound normal to you?  I have never had a request like this for a client.

She has worked for the same company for over 20 years, so all PAYE.  I have known her for 35 years.  She was born and brought up in the UK and I believe her tax affairs (although I have not been involved) would be pretty dull.  Fine, she has been selected for a compliance check, it just seems really odd that they have requested the passport and driving licence.

I will tell her to ring HMRC (SA helpline number - if she has an hour to spare) to double check that this letter has come from them, but just wondering why they might want all of this info for a simple compliance check - and in fact if they can request it at this stage?

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By Duggimon
19th Mar 2021 08:43

It sounds very much like one of the letters about SEISS compliance, which is obviously not relevant to your friend. Have you seen the letter? Does it include information HMRC would be likely to know (NI number, employer PAYE reference?

In any event, I would agree calling them and finding out, or writing to them in response asking for more information would be infinitely preferable to just sending all that stuff off.

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By I'msorryIhaven'taclue
19th Mar 2021 09:05

Except the OP mentioned the friend's been all PAYE for the past 20 years.

Do you think maybe the Revenue suspect the friend of moonlighting, Douggie? OP, what does your friend work as? (I've come across a few teachers recently who've been raking it in with private tuition - just a punt!)

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Replying to I'msorryIhaven'taclue:
By Duggimon
19th Mar 2021 09:31

I'msorryIhaven'taclue wrote:

Except the OP mentioned the friend's been all PAYE for the past 20 years.

That was my point exactly, there's no real reason I can see for the check, but that doesn't mean it's not an actual letter from HMRC for a new harebrained compliance initiative, hence my query regarding information you would expect HMRC to know, and my conclusion that you definitely need to find out what the letter is before replying with any sensitive documents.

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By Paul Crowley
19th Mar 2021 09:06

There is the repayment of tax letter
There is the Are you still trading letter , will stop SEISS
There is the new trader might be entitled to SEISS, but prove it letter

Why not another employee one
After all It is not like the scammers will join in and ask for ID and bank statements. sent in the post is it?

People keep asking but helpful to see a redacted copy each time to see if they are similar.
Fraudsters have had plenty of time to join in but less likely to use a real address than HMRC.
Trouble is no one has yet even mentioned the address. Postcode enough

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By Paul Crowley
19th Mar 2021 09:26

A compliance check? Under what basis?
Is she due a refund?
Why would HMRC need proof that she is who she is?

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By richard thomas
19th Mar 2021 10:43

To answer your question as posed in the heading and last sentence of your post, they can ask for anything they like. The important issue is what can they insist on by a notice and punish the client for not complying.

Schedule 36 FA 2008 governs this. A request for documents must be "reasonably required .. for the purpose of checking the taxpayer's tax position". "Checking" covers any investigation or enquiry. This would include a case where a repayment is being checked.

If it comes to a formal notice, HMRC ought to explain how the documents are relevant, and if the explanation is not accepted, or is absent, an appeal should be made.

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By Paul Crowley
19th Mar 2021 13:55

Passport and driving licence?
Sounds like AML

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