beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what beta means

HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: records: reviewing records: introduction and scope

When you ask to see a person’s records they should bring any difficulties involved in their production to your attention. You should follow the guidance at CH221000.

You have the power to look at records but this must be exercised in a reasonable way, see CH21620. You should consider why you need to see records, which records you need to see and when you need to see them. You must be aware of the restrictions placed on certain records, see CH22000. You will also need to take account of whether the records relate to a business or not, whether they are statutory records or not and the manner in which they are being kept.

As many large businesses may keep a back-up set of computerised records, you should ensure that you are checking the most recent version.

You should always review the records that will best help you address the risks identified before the compliance check began. If you identify further risks as your check progresses you should consider what other records you need to see so that you can address those risks.

Before you start your record examination ask the relevant person in the business, or the agent if there is one, how the system is supposed to operate. If the system is subsequently found not to be operated in the way they describe you should find out why. Your review of the records will involve deciding whether the system as it is supposed to operate is adequate to account for tax and/or duties of excise correctly and whether the system operates as it should.

If you are checking the records of a business where a transfer of a going concern has occurred, you should check the guidance at VTOGC4850.