Time Limits for Assessments and Claims

If HMRC want to collect Tax from you or your business, following a tax enquiry, they usually need a Tax Assessment first.  There are strict time limits in which they can issue an Assessment to you.  But they can claim tax off you for the last 20 years!  There is also a time limit for you to make a Claim to them; e.g. to utilise losses. 

The basic rules for PAYE, Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Corporation Tax and VAT are "behaviour" driven.  If HMRC believe you have been under-assessed to tax they can make further assessments in the following time limits; depending on what behaviour of yours they believe caused the under-assessment:

  • One year: Where HMRC have opened an Enquiry within the statutory time limit (of roughly a year) they can normally collect any additional tax that they can prove is due;
  • Four years: the Normal Time Limit, in all cases, even innocent error.  But the taxman has to show that he has made a Discovery.  Usually if more tax is due then a Discovery has been made.  But this can be a complex area - and successful challenges can sometimes be made;
  • Six years: Extended Time Limit for Errors caused by Failure to Take Sufficient care (aka Carelessess) (except for VAT which is 4 years).  The onus is on the taxman to prove that the relevant behaviour was careless.  This is another area where challenges can succeed;
  • Twenty  years: Extended Time Limit for Deliberate Errors; Failure to Register for VAT, Failure To Notify chargeability to tax, Failure To Notify tax avoidance schemes.  The onus is on the taxman to prove that the relevant behaviour was Deliberate.  This is a key area where our challenges are often successful - and where significant amounts of tax, interest, and penalties can be at stake.

The Normal Time Limit for taxpayer Claims is four years: but this can be extended where HMRC open an Enquiry.

How Can Lynam Tax Dispute Specialists Help me?
The taxman may be alleging there is extra tax to pay for years more than 4 years ago.  Lynam Tax Dispute Experts have a great track record in challenging such claims, and saving clients significant sums in tax, interest, and penalties.

If you need advice and help in a tax dispute where HMRC want to assess an earlier year or refuse your claim then call Lynam Tax now on: 0845 643 9997 or email partners@lynamtax.co.uk

For more information about Time Limits for Assessments and Claims click here for our news article: New Tax Compliance Checks Regime: HMRC warning.


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We specialise in managing all Tax Enquiry, Tax Disclosures & Tax Disputes with HMRC.

We will help you throughout the Tax Investigation or Disclosure and save you money, so you can concentrate on running your business and enjoying your private life.

For a helpful, sympathetic, confidential and no obligation discussion:

For a helpful, no obligation, wholly confidential discussion:

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Email: partners@lynamtax.co.uk

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Lynam Tax do not judge but do have the skills to optimise the worst of situations.  Paul has a profound knowledge of Tax Law and is unquestionably reliable. Gemma has meticulous attention to detail . A great team to have on one’s side – trust them

George: Ross-on-Wye, 24 April 2019.

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