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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: general: meetings with persons under 18

 

Young people are personally responsible for their tax affairs and are liable to pay their tax in the same way as other customers, however because of their age you must take extra care when discussing their tax affairs with them.

You should only hold a meeting with a young person under the age of 18 if there is a suitable person present aged 18 or over who has agreed to oversee the emotional wellbeing of the young person and make sure they do not become distressed when answering your questions or as a result of the meeting.

The suitable person could be, for example, their agent, parent or partner.

When you identify that a customer is under 18, before proceeding with any face to face meeting, you must explain to them that because they are under eighteen you will only carry out the meeting if they agree

  • to a suitable person over 18 being present, and
  • they identify a suitable person.

You must explain to the customer

  • why the suitable person will be attending the meeting
  • that you may be disclosing confidential taxpayer information at the meeting
  • they do not have to agree to provide a suitable person.

If the customer does not agree to provide a suitable person you should explain that

  • you will not continue with the meeting, and
  • you will only communicate with them in writing.

If they agree to provide a suitable person being present at the meeting then you should

  • clarify in what capacity the person will be attending
  • record the name of the person in your meeting notes, and
  • ask for the customer’s written consent for the suitable person to be present.

See IDG30410 for more information on how consent can be given.

If obtaining written consent is not practical you should record in the meeting notes that the customer has given verbal consent for the suitable person to be present.

During any meeting if you feel it is appropriate and

  • the person acknowledges they need help in sorting out their tax affairs, and
  • they do not have a tax agent

suggest the person may wish to consider contacting a free advice agency such as TaxAid for advice (if on a low income) or Citizen’s Advice for practical support.

If during the compliance check or meeting you become concerned about the well being of the young person you should follow the guidance at COG11400.