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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: using inspection powers: inspections at a person’s home: when they may be needed

Unless your inspection is for the purposes of valuation, see CH25380, the powers of entry and inspection in FA08/Sch36 do not include the power to enter or inspect any part of premises that are used as a private dwelling. Sometimes, however, you may need to carry out an inspection at a person’s home when it is used as a business premises, see CH25180 for the definition of business premises.

Private residences may fall under the definition of business premises where

  • the business is run from the home
  • business assets are stored at a home
  • business records are kept at a home
  • a home is registered as the principal place of business for VAT.

Examples of where an inspection at a person’s home may be needed are at CH254520.

Examples of where an inspection is not allowed are at CH254530.

The procedures at CH251500 to establish and record the reason for the visit must be followed.

Persons have a right to privacy, see CH21340. You should only make a visit to a person’s private residence if it is essential to checking the person’s tax position, and where it is reasonable and proportionate to the identified risk, see CH21360.

If a person stores records at home because there is nowhere else to keep them but has no goods or business activity at the home, then you should not normally inspect the records there. You may, however, visit the person’s home if they invite you to do so because it is convenient for them for you to inspect their records there.

If you decide you need to visit a home to inspect records only, you must obtain your line manager’s agreement. When arranging the visit, it should be made clear to the person that they can refuse to permit a visit and they must be provided with the appropriate general information factsheet CC/FS1 (a, b, c or d) (GOV.UK) if this has not already been issued, not factsheet CC/FS3 which is for visits undertaken using inspection powers.