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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

How to do a compliance check: starting a compliance check: introduction

It is important that everyone understands their rights and obligations when they are the subject of an HMRC compliance check.

Explaining these rights and obligations, the purpose of the check and how it will be done should mean that the check can be completed more quickly and efficiently than if the person is unclear about what to expect during the check.

The general information factsheets listed below give a commitment to the person that we will tell them we have started a check and explain what it may involve for them, see CH202050.

CC/FS1a (GOV.UK) - General information about compliance checks

CC/FS1b (GOV.UK) - General information about compliance checks by Compliance Centres

CC/FS1c (GOV.UK) - General information about compliance checks for large businesses

CC/FS1d (GOV.UK) - General information about compliance checks into Excise matters

These factsheets include important information about penalty reductions for disclosure and publishing details of deliberate defaulters (PDDD). The appropriate general information factsheet must be given at the start of every compliance check so that the person has an opportunity to make a full disclosure and understands the consequences of not doing so at that time, see CH403203 for further guidance on determining the reduction for disclosure and CH500000 for guidance on PDDD.

In addition to giving the appropriate general information factsheet, you must make it clear to the person who is the subject of the compliance check that a check has started, and what it will involve. There are separate factsheets that must be issued when we make visits by agreement or with advance notice or unannounced visits, see CH202000.

You must tell the person what is being checked and the risks being addressed but not how the case was selected, see CH206150 for information about openness and early dialogue.

If you are carrying out a compliance check on a person with a disability see COG11300.

There is detailed guidance about compliance checks in the regime-specific guidance manuals.