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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Types of inspection: Announced inspection

The overwhelming majority of inspections will be announced visits.

An inspection is an announced inspection even if it is not arranged by the officer who actually does the visit. The intention of booking is to ensure that the people who you need to see and the records and business assets you want to inspect are at the premises on the agreed day. This simplifies matters for everyone.

If the person receiving the inspection agrees to the time you suggest then there is no need to give any particular period of warning. This is especially useful for

  • large business where your presence on the site may cause very little disruption to the business going on, and
  • inspections where the person requests a visit.

Seven days is the minimum period of notice for an announced inspection, although you should normally give a longer period. The 7-day notice does not have to be given in writing - notice given in a phone call is just as valid. It is appropriate in almost all circumstances to send written confirmation of arrangements you have made by telephone.

You can make an announced visit at less than seven days notice with

  • the agreement of the occupier,
  • the agreement of an authorised officer, see CH21720 or
  • the approval of the tribunal, see CH25540.

This is a short notice inspection. You will find an example of

  • the notice of agreement to be given by an authorised officer at CHApp1.11, and
  • the notice of approval to be given by the tribunal at CHApp1.12.

Where the occupier of premises is a company or other business, you must be satisfied that the notice of agreement or approval is given to an appropriately senior person such as a director, site manager, partner or the sole trader.

If you arrange a document inspection visit you should consider whether you should also issue an information notice. A notice will ensure that the person knows what records they must produce when you arrive. The example letter confirming an appointment at CHApp1.9 contains suitable wording to include an information notice.

Copy the letter you send to confirm the appointment (and the information notice if you issue one) into the person’s file or Electronic Folder.