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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: establishing the facts: the informal approach

You can usually get the information you need without giving information or inspection notices.

This informal approach often allows you to establish a good working relationship with the person from the start of your check.

Adopting a formal approach at the start of a compliance check can cause unnecessary worry, especially for individuals and the owners of small businesses, and make people reluctant to discuss tax and/or duty matters with you.

An informal approach can result in more openness and co-operation with your check, allowing problems to be identified and resolved more quickly than in a formal process where the person may take more time complying with information and inspection notices.

However, all officers who carry out compliance checks using the informal approach must understand, and act within, the legal framework that FA08/Sch36 or CEMA79 provides.

You cannot carry out inspections under FA08/Sch36 without following the legal requirements for notices and authorisation, see CH250000.

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