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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: asking questions in the presence of another government agency

During an inspection you can ask questions to obtain information relating to things you inspect. You cannot use the power to ask wider questions (CH25320) although you can still ask questions providing you make it clear that the person is not obliged to answer your questions.

If as part of your inspection you ask the business owner questions the other government agencies may be present providing:

  • you have agreed the questions in advance with the other agencies
  • the questions you ask must be to obtain information that each agency has  the power to require
  • the questions you ask will assist you in carrying out your inspection
  • the information you are seeking to obtain can be disclosed lawfully by HMRC to the other agencies.

If you need to ask follow up questions and you are in any doubt about the legal basis to share the information you must ask these without the other agencies being present. This will avoid any unlawful disclosures.