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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Information & Inspection Powers: Overview: Schedule 36 FA 2008

Information and inspection powers in Schedule 36 FA 2008
Information and inspection powers for excise

Information and inspection powers in Schedule 36 FA 2008

One of HMRC’s responsibilities is to check that the correct amounts of tax have been paid at the right time. To do that, we may need to

  • gather information and examine documents, or
  • inspect business premises and the business assets and business documents on those premises.

This guidance describes the powers that enable us to do these things and the processes we use. These powers replace the separate information and inspection powers that applied to

  • income tax
  • capital gains tax
  • corporation tax and
  • VAT.

They also apply to

  • employers’ obligations to deduct and account for PAYE & NIC, and
  • deductions under the Construction Industry Scheme.

The powers took effect for the above taxes and obligations on 1 April 2009.

From 1 April 2010, the powers are extended to

  • insurance premium tax
  • inheritance tax
  • stamp duty land tax
  • stamp duty reserve tax
  • petroleum revenue tax
  • aggregates levy
  • climate change levy and
  • landfill tax.

From 31 August 2010 the powers can also be used to check bank payroll tax and they can be used to check annual tax on enveloped dwellings from 1 April 2013.

CH21050 gives more detail about the commencement dates and transitional provisions.

The basic rules apply to all taxes but there are some rules that only apply to specific taxes and some specific circumstances where the basic rules are disapplied.

There are safeguards to ensure that we act reasonably and that any action we take

  • is appropriate to the circumstances, and
  • does not unreasonably interfere with a person’s rights under Article 8 of the Human Rights Act, see CH21340.

The information or documents we ask for or the inspection we carry out must be reasonably required to check a person’s tax position, see CH21520. We cannot require a person to give us or require them to allow us to inspect some types of information, see CH22000. Amongst other things this will include documents that relate to a tax appeal.

The majority of people will co-operate fully when we ask for information or documents or carry out inspections. However, if they do not we may use our powers to obtain the information or documents or to carry out an inspection. This would include a situation where the person is exercising their Article 6 rights under the Human Rights Act. See CH21320+.

There are Factsheets covering the use of our information and inspection powers, see CH21200.

An overview of our powers to ask for information or documents is at CH20200. Detailed guidance starts at CH23000.

An overview of our powers to carry out an inspection is at CH20250 and detailed guidance starts at CH25000.

Information and inspection powers for excise

The inspection powers in Schedule 36 do not apply to excise checks on revenue traders. (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

Section 118BA of CEMA provides for an excise information notice to be issued to any person. The purpose is to obtain documents and/or information from a third party, that is, not a ‘revenue trader’ as defined in CEMA to control excise goods. Limited provisions from Schedule 36 apply to excise information notices from 1 April 2011. See CH22500.

FA08/SCH36