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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Inspection Powers: Types of inspection: Advance notice of inspection

Most businesses should be able to accommodate a visit if they are given at least a week’s notice. However, there may be good business reasons for delaying a visit for longer. You must listen to and consider carefully any representations made by the business.

You must not request or make a visit at a time that you know will be particularly inconvenient. Normally, you should telephone the business before a notice of inspection is issued, with the aim of agreeing a convenient date and time.

It will be unusual for a notice of inspection to be issued without contacting the business first.

Normally you will agree a date and time with the person receiving the inspection or give at least seven days notice. You must have good reason to ask the person receiving the inspection to agree to a visit with less than 7 days notice and explain it to them. We have 7 days because it is the longest period of notice we can give without interfering with our aim to deal with repayments in 10 days. However, see CH25500 and CH25540 if you want to carry out an inspection with less than 7 days notice.

It may be that the officer who telephones the business to arrange the visit and issues the inspection notice is not the officer who is actually going to do the visit. The officer arranging the visit should make clear to the person receiving the inspection that the officer doing the visit will identify themselves by name and will carry identification and a copy of the inspection notice.

Appendix 1 contains an example of

  • a letter confirming an agreed appointment – CHApp1.9
  • a notice of inspection where you have not been able to agree an appointment - CHApp1.10.