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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: using FA08/Sch36 inspection powers: prior authorisation by the tribunal

If entry to business premises to carry out an inspection has been refused, or in cases where it can be anticipated that entry will be refused, it may be appropriate to seek approval for the inspection in advance from the tribunal. This will deter non-cooperation and allow penalties to be imposed if an HMRC officer who then attempts to carry out the inspection is obstructed, see CH270000.

The application must be agreed in advance by an authorised officer, see CH262400.

If you plan to issue a taxpayer notice prior to or during your inspection, you should also seek approval for the information notice from the tribunal. This avoids appeals being made against the notice or any of its requirements, see CH223400.

With the exception of inspections for valuation purposes done using the powers in FA2008/Sch36/Para12A, see CH25380 and CH256000, applications for approval may be made ‘without notice’. This means that any person affected is not told about it.

A notice template for a tribunal-approved announced inspection can be found in SEES Forms and Letters.

A notice template for a tribunal-approved unannounced inspection can be found in SEES Forms and Letters.

Remember that you cannot change the type of approved inspection from announced to unannounced once the tribunal has given its approval.

There is no right of appeal under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Act 2007 against a decision of the tribunal to approve an inspection.