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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: information powers: taxpayer notice: seeking tribunal approval

You will not usually need tribunal approval to issue a taxpayer notice. However, you can ask the tribunal to approve the issue of a notice if you believe it’s justifiable to do so.

You may want tribunal approval where

  • the tax at risk is large and time limits for making an assessment are about to expire, and the delay of an appeal may mean that you are unable to quantify and assess the tax
  • the person has a history of refusing to provide information
  • there is disagreement over whether a record is a statutory record. An appeal can be avoided if the tribunal approves the issue of the notice on the basis that the information or documents are reasonably required, whether or not they are statutory records
  • you need to protect your information from premature exposure at an appeal hearing on the notice. For example, you may have third party information that you are unable to reveal to the person because it might expose or endanger the third party source. By obtaining tribunal approval to issue the notice the person will not have the right of appeal. This means that there is no possibility of revealing information which ought not to be revealed
  • you have reason to believe that documents may be destroyed, see CH27200, or you suspect fraud.

Before you apply to the tribunal for approval to issue a taxpayer notice you must obtain the agreement of an authorised officer, see CH260000. Before you approach the authorised officer, you should discuss your proposed course of action with your line manager.

Tribunal will require update list of authorised officers as evidence of the signatory see ARTG7560 for more information

Before seeking tribunal approval you should usually first tell the person that the information or documents are required and give them a reasonable opportunity to make representations to you. It is possible, however, to ask the tribunal to approve the issue of a taxpayer notice without prior notice if giving notice might prejudice the assessment or collection of tax, see CH24120.

If you plan to ask the tribunal to approve an inspection of business premises and records, you may also want to ask the tribunal to approve a taxpayer notice specifying the records you require to be produced at the same time and place as the inspection.

Further guidance about making applications to the tribunal is at ARTG7500.

A notice for issue to the taxpayer after approval and signature by a tribunal member is at CHApp1.3 (Word 39kb).