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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Conditions and safeguards: What we can require or inspect: Authorised officer

Some, but not all, uses of the information and inspection powers require the agreement of an authorised officer.

  • An authorised officer must agree an application for tribunal approval of a written notice or an inspection. In practice this will cover many third-party notices, but fewer taxpayer notices or inspections, see CH23080.
  • Only an authorised officer may issue an ‘identity unknown notice’ or an ‘identification notice’. These types of notice relate to an unidentified person or class of persons, see CH23080.
  • An authorised officer must agree any notice requiring the production of documents originating more than 6 years ago, see CH22140.

An authorised officer will have practical experience in the use of information and inspection powers.

They must stand back and reach a fresh view, scrutinising with care reports from an investigator who seeks agreement to issue a particular kind of information notice or conduct a particular kind of inspection.

They must be satisfied that the proposed notice or visit is appropriate and proportionate to the particular risks identified. They must be satisfied that any representations made by the person whose tax position is being checked, or the intended recipient of the notice, have been considered and, where appropriate, taken into account.

The operational guidance at CH260000 onwards gives details of the authorised officers who perform or give agreement to the performance of the various information and inspection power functions in Schedule 36.