HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is suspending enquiries into taxpayers and businesses that are under investigation as a result of the coronavirus crisis.

HMRC is writing to taxpayers under enquiry to say that during the current lockdown it will not be requesting information or documents and pressing for responses to requests already made.

A government spokesperson said HMRC is not stopping its compliance work but is instead prioritising work to support businesses and individuals. It will continue to tackle the most serious criminal attacks and those who exploit the crisis by promoting tax avoidance.

The spokesperson said: ‘It is right that HMRC does everything possible to protect individuals, businesses and the economy during this extremely difficult time. This includes prioritising work to support businesses and individuals.

‘HMRC will always take tough action against fraudsters who attempt to deprive the UK of the public funds the Government needs to support the nation at this difficult time.’

Fiona Fernie , tax dispute resolution partner at tax and advisory firm Blick Rothenberg, said: ‘While this may seem to be welcome news, there may be good reasons to press ahead if taxpayers or their businesses are already under enquiry.’

She added that putting off HMRC’s queries until after the coronavirus crisis is over may not be ‘as good an idea as it sounds’.

‘Many will need to be concentrating hard on reviving their business and HMRC’s questions will inevitably distract attention from that at a time when loss of focus on business management could be potentially devastating,’ she said.

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