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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: types of compliance checks: joint working with other government agencies: carrying out the joint inspection visit

A member of another agency may accompany you when you carry out an announced or unannounced inspection under schedule 36 Finance Act 2008, see CH20250, or CEMA powers of entry and inspection. The member of the other agency must use their own powers of entry. The other agencies must not use criminal powers or conduct a criminal investigation and the taxpayer must agree that all the agencies present may enter their premises.

The power you use will depend upon the purpose of the visit and what you are inspecting, see CH251000. The most widely used power is para 10 schedule 36 Finance Act 2008. This power can be used to inspect business premises assets and business documents. Business documents relate to the carrying on of a business by any person, and are part of any person’s statutory records, see CH21700 There are some restrictions on types of documents and information we can inspect or require, see CH22100.

When you carry out any visit, you must not force entry or use clandestine means to gain entry. This means that you will either have announced the visit to the business premises or you will be carrying out an unannounced visit to the business premises. If you are refused entry to the premises you should follow the guidance at CH255520.

Do not change the way you carry out your inspection because another agency is present. Remember you do not have any powers to prevent the business from operating whilst you are present. You do not have the power to request the business to cash up at any time during your inspection although you may carry out an unannounced or planned visit and remain on the premises and observe the business cashing and inspect the records. If you are asked to leave before you have finished your inspection, you should leave and consider seeking tribunal approval for an inspection.

You should follow the guidance at CH201100+ observing the Human Rights Act and safeguards (CH201300) and ensure that you issue the appropriate Factsheets (CH202025).

When you enter the premises you must explain the reason for your visit to the occupier and how you intend to carry out the inspection.

If the inspection is unannounced issue the written notice of the inspection with the relevant Factsheets and explain the purpose of your visit. Allow the person time to read these.