HMRC Enquiries and Investigations

by Sarah Laing
access120 days access
cpd hours4 CPD hours

This course will enable you to:

  • Deal with HMRC enquiries and investigations
  • Understand HMRC’s powers, the different types of investigations and why an investigation might be opened
  • Negotiate a settlement, and mitigate penalty charges
  • Be clear about the difference between tax avoidance and evasion
  • Understand why HMRC might start a criminal investigation, and the powers and safeguards under which they must operate.

HMRC enquiries and investigations are not to be taken lightly. They are an important part of your role as a finance professional, and mistakes can cost both you, your company or your clients, more than just money.

This course looks at how HMRC handle routine enquiries into self-assessment returns, through to full blown investigations into a taxpayer's affairs.

It outlines current law and practice, and guides participants through HMRC procedures, pinpointing the role and responsibilities of the taxpayer, and their agent.


  • Why are HMRC’s enquiry powers so important?
  • What is the time frame for opening an enquiry?
  • What prompts an enquiry?
  • Can the risk of an enquiry be reduced?

Tax Avoidance vs Evasion

  • What is tax evasion?
  • What is the General Anti-Abuse rule?
  • Who deals with tax fraud and criminal investigations?
  • What happens under a CDF offer?

Practical Aspects

  • What happens during an enquiry?
  • How are penalties calculated?
  • How is a settlement negotiated?
  • What is the Alternative Disclosure Resolution?
  • What are the benefits of applying for ADR?

Criminal Investigations

  • What will HMRC instigate criminal proceedings?
  • What are HMRC’s criminal investigation powers?
  • Who can use HMRC’s criminal powers?
  • What are complaints handled?
  • What are the time limits for complaining?

Sarah Laing is a Chartered Tax Adviser. She has been writing professionally since 1998 when she joined CCH Editions as a Senior Technical Editor, contributing to a range of highly regarded publications including the British Tax Reporter. She became Publishing Manager for the tax and accounting portfolio in 2001 and later went on to help run CCH Seminars (including ABG Courses and Conferences).

Sarah originally worked for the Inland Revenue in Newbury and Swindon Tax Offices, before moving out into practice in 1991. She has worked for both small and Big 5 firms, and now works as a freelance author providing technical writing services for the tax and accountancy profession.

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ACCA partner with to provide high quality CPD for members. As an ACCA member, you are required to complete at least 40 relevant units of CPD each year, where one unit is equal to one hour. 21 units must be verifiable; the other 19 can be non-verifiable.

Verifiable CPD
Your course counts as verifiable CPD, if you can answer "yes" to these questions:

  1. Was the learning activity relevant to your career?
  2. Can you explain how you will apply the learning in the workplace?

You select courses that meet these criteria, and as you complete each course you get a CPD certificate so you can provide ACCA with the evidence that you undertook the learning activity.

  1. Paul M
    Posted 14-Jun-2020 at
    The company is trying to reduce costs in a time when it is difficult for all of us. Keeping the tax bill down in a legal, legitimate manner is important to the company.
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