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(1)The Board may enquire into—
(a)the entitlement of a person, or the joint entitlement of persons, to a tax credit for a tax year, and
(b)the amount of the tax credit to which he was entitled, or they were jointly entitled, for the tax year,
if they give notice to the person, or each of the persons, during the period allowed for the initiation of an enquiry.
(2)As part of the enquiry the Board may by notice—
(a)require the person, or either or both of the persons, to provide any information or evidence which the Board consider they may need for the purposes of the enquiry, or
(b)require any person of a prescribed description to provide any information or evidence of a prescribed description which the Board consider they may need for those purposes,
by the date specified in the notice.
(3)On an enquiry the Board must decide—
(a)whether the person was entitled, or the persons were jointly entitled, to the tax credit, and
(b)if so, the amount of the tax credit to which he was entitled, or they were jointly entitled,
for the tax year.
(4)The period allowed for the initiation of an enquiry is the period beginning immediately after the relevant section 18 decision and ending—
(a)if the person, or either of the persons, to whom the enquiry relates is required by section 8 of the Taxes Management Act 1970 (c. 9) to make a return, with the day on which the return becomes final (or, if both of the persons are so required and their returns become final on different days, with the later of those days), or
(b)in any other case, one year after the beginning of the relevant section 17 date.
(5)“The relevant section 18 decision” means—
(a)in a case in which a decision must be made under subsection (6) of section 18 in relation to the person or persons and the tax year to which the enquiry relates, that decision, and
(b)in any other case, the decision under subsection (1) of that section in relation to the person or persons and that tax year.
(6)“The relevant section 17 date” means—
(a)in a case in which a statement may be made by the person or persons in response to provision included by virtue of subsection (8) of section 17 in the notice given to him or them under that section in relation to the tax year, the date specified in the notice for the purposes of that subsection, and
(b)in any other case, the date specified for the purposes of subsection (4) of that section in the notice given to him or them under that section in relation to the tax year.
(7)A return becomes final—
(a)if it is enquired into under section 9A of the Taxes Management Act 1970 (c. 9), when the enquiries are completed (within the meaning of section 28A of that Act), or
(b)otherwise, at the end of the period specified in subsection (2) of that section in relation to the return.
(8)An enquiry is completed at the time when the Board give notice to the person or persons of their decision under subsection (3); but if the Board give notice to the persons at different times the enquiry is completed at the later of those times.
(9)The person, or either of the persons, to whom the enquiry relates may at any time before such notice is given apply for a direction that the Board must give such a notice.
(10)Such an application is to be heard and determined in the same way as an appeal against a decision under subsection (3); and the General Commissioners or Special Commissioners hearing the application must give the direction applied for unless satisfied that the Board have reasonable grounds for not making the decision or giving the notice.
(11)Where the entitlement of a person, or the joint entitlement of persons, to a tax credit for a tax year has been enquired into under this section, it is not to be the subject of a further notice under subsection (1).
(12)Subject to section 20 and regulations under section 21 (and to any appeal), a decision under subsection (3) in relation to a person or persons and a tax credit for a tax year is conclusive as to the entitlement of the person, or the joint entitlement of the persons, to the tax credit for the tax year and the amount of the tax credit to which he was entitled, or they were jointly entitled, for the tax year.
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