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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: using inspection powers: invigilation: powers to invigilate

Schedule 36 Finance Act 2008 gives HMRC the power to invigilate without consent.

It does not provide you with

  • an absolute right of entry, or
  • the right to stay on premises

if you are asked to leave.

Schedule 36 does allow for a penalty to be applied when a customer unreasonably obstructs an inspection that has been approved by a Tribunal, see CH26240.

Although HMRC officers have the power to invigilate at a customer’s premises the use of this power must be reasonable and proportionate.

Invigilation may be reasonable and proportionate when

  • other evidence such as references from suppliers or covert activity suggests that sales have not been declared, or
  • the Daily Gross Takings record is incomplete or has not been maintained.

You must be aware that invigilation is a very intrusive action and must only be done for the purpose of quantifying the suppressed sales after you have

  • checked the business records
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) CH290100(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • explained to the customer that you believe they have under-declared their sales or taxable sales
  • given the appropriate person factsheets CC/FS7a and CC/FS9 and explained their contents
  • asked questions about the inaccuracies and discussed the best way to quantify the unpaid tax
  • been unable to agree an alternative way to quantify the unpaid tax.