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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Conditions and safeguards: Overlap with other powers

The FA08/SCH36 information and inspection powers replace a lot of the powers that previously applied to UK taxes, see CH21050. However, there are some specialised powers relating to those taxes that Schedule 36 has not replaced.

Where you can use either Schedule 36 or a specialised power in carrying out a compliance check, you should apply the following rules to decide which to use.

  • You should choose the power that is most appropriate and proportionate in the context of the particular compliance check.
  • Often the specialist power will be the appropriate power to use because it has been specifically designed for its narrow purpose, but
  • You must not make a particular choice in order to deny the person a safeguard or so that you can impose a penalty if the person does not comply, which would not be available under the other power. Your choice should not be made purely on the basis that it best serves HMRC to the detriment of the person whose tax position is being checked. To do so would be unreasonable and an abuse of HMRC’s power.
  • Where two or more powers compete equally, you should choose the power that provides the greater safeguards for the person. For example, where the powers have different appeal rights, you should use the power that provides the person with the widest appeal rights. This will usually be the Sch 36 power with its modern checks and balances.

See also CH205340.