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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Conditions and safeguards: Restrictions: Introduction

We can only require or inspect documents that are in a person’s possession or power, see CH22120.

There are some restrictions on the types of documents and information we can require or inspect even if they would otherwise be reasonably required to check a person’s tax position, see CH21520, and they are in the person’s possession or power. The restrictions cover the following.

  • Old documents, see CH22140
  • Appeal material, see CH22160
  • Personal records, see CH22180
  • Journalistic material, see CH22220
  • Legally privileged information or documents, see CH22240
  • Auditors’ statutory audit papers, see CH22280
  • Tax advisers’ papers giving advice, see CH22300.

Note that the guidance in CH22000+ applies from 1 April 2011 to information notices issued to a person who is not a revenue trader under Section 118BA of the Customs & Excise Management Act 1979 (CEMA). But if your compliance check is into an excise duty, you will use powers under CEMA79. (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)