Some taxpayers do not take sufficient care over their tax affairs. That can result in their not paying the proper amount of tax. Other taxpayers deliberately try to pay less tax than is due from them. When either of these two situations occur, the income tax office will have to investigate the matter to establish the facts.
An investigation into your affairs will be started only if the office thinks your tax returns or trading accounts are incomplete. We will need to ask for information about your personal or business affairs to determine whether your tax position is correct.
The sole aim of the investigation will be to collect the correct amount of tax, along with any interest or penalties that may be due. For further details on the interest and penalties that may be charged, refer to the interest and penalties information.
Interest and penalties for incorrect tax returns
Agents and professional representation
If you do not already have an agent acting for you, you can choose to be professionally represented if an investigation is started into your tax affairs. If there is a lack of progress towards settling matters with your agent, we will tell you and then deal with you direct. Even if you have an agent, you are always personally responsible for your own tax affairs and for ensuring true and correct returns of income are made to the Taxes Office.
Information that may be requested
We will always let you explain any apparent omissions from your tax returns or trading accounts and give you the chance to volunteer any information about irregularities. We may ask to see your business records if we are examining your trading accounts. We may also ask to see all your private bank and building society accounts if we think they will help us with our enquiries. We will, of course, give you a reasonable amount of time to produce the information we have requested.
We may ask to talk to you to discuss your financial and business affairs. You can ask your agent to attend any such meeting. Meetings are useful as they allow a discussion of outstanding matters and help to resolve any problems that may have arisen during the course of the investigation. Dealing with such matters by letter can take very much longer.
Amount of omitted income / profits
We will try and reach agreement with you on the amount of omitted income or profits. If this is not possible, it will be necessary to raise assessments. The figures in the assessments may be higher than those referred to during our negotiations as any offer to settle during negotiations will have been made 'without prejudice'. Any assessments raised will be based on the full facts and information in our possession.
Right of appeal
You have the right of appeal against these assessments. The Commissioners of Appeal will hear your appeal. You can choose to present your own case to the Commissioners of Appeal or your professional adviser can do it on your behalf. If your adviser presents your case you must accompany him to the appeal hearing as it may be necessary to question you on certain matters.
Certificate of disclosure
At the end of the investigation into your tax affairs, we will ask you to sign a certificate of disclosure confirming that you have made a complete disclosure of all your bank accounts and all sources of income and facts bearing upon your liability to income tax.
If you are currently not under investigation and realise that you need to correct a past mistake, you can tell us by using an online form.
Voluntary disclosure: putting your taxes right