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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Information Notices: The notice: Where and when documents should be produced

You can, but do not have to, specify in the notice where documents are to be produced. You could leave that decision until after the notice has been issued.

You should accept a place chosen by the recipient if it is reasonable and practical. This means that if the person makes a reasonable request to produce a document at their own or their agent’s business premises you should normally agree.

It is not reasonable for the person to suggest production of a document at an unsocial hour of the day or in an unreasonable location. For example, in the case of Johnson v Blackpool Commissioners and CIR (70 TC 1), a Commissioners’ precept was served on the Johnsons to produce books, accounts and documents. Mr Johnson replied that the documents would be available at his house at 11.59pm on a specified date. He subsequently refused access to the books etc. The Commissioners imposed a penalty for failure to comply, which was upheld by the Courts. It was held that the books etc had to be made available at a reasonable time and that the conditions set by Mr Johnson were totally unreasonable.

You must, however, explain and have a good reason why a time and place suggested by the recipient of the notice is not reasonable before specifying an alternative.

You can accept delivery of the document to any HMRC office as an alternative to production at the agreed or specified place.

If you do not agree a reasonable place you can specify a reasonable place where the document is to be produced, either in the notice when it is issued or afterwards.

You cannot specify a place that is used solely as a dwelling, see CH25100.