Revenue Powers – Determinations & Discoveries

What is a Revenue Determination? This is where a tax return is issued by HMRC but not completed by the taxpayer which then means that HMRC have the power to issue a notice of determination in respect of their assessment of the tax due.

There is no right of appeal against a determination and the resulting tax cannot be postponed. However, a determination can be replaced by the filing of the relevant tax return. HMRC have confirmed that determinations will only be issued in cases where a substantial amount of tax is at risk.

What are the Revenue’s powers of Discovery? HMRC has 12 months from the date of submission to make an enquiry and if they do not do this, the only other method is via a discovery assessment.

Discovery assessments have historically been raised by HMRC where they believe that tax has been lost due to fraud or negligence or where the officer could not have been reasonably expected, on the basis of the information provided to him/her to make an assessment.

There are now new rules and time limits associated with discovery assessments which also now apply to the following:

  • Where the behaviour is careless (time limit is 6 years)
  • Where the behaviour is deliberate (time limit is 20 years)
  • Where there is incomplete disclosure (time limit is 4 years)

This is a very complex area and comes from very detailed tax legislation, so it is recommended to seek professional advice if you find yourself on the receiving end of either of these two actions.

If you would like our help to understand the implications in more detail for your specific situation, call us today on 02394 003600 or contact me on


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Posted in Tax & Accountancy.

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