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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: using inspection powers: invigilation: type of invigilation

There are two main methods of invigilation:

  • Self invigilation

    • This involves a customer maintaining a record of each individual transaction made on their premises whilst you closely monitor that record.
  • Officer invigilation

When considering invigilation you may decide to use a combination of the two methods, interspersing periods of self-invigilation with officer invigilation.

If you decide to carry out officer invigilation you will also have to consider the circumstances of your compliance check and decide whether to carry out an announced or unannounced invigilation.

If you consider the customer

  • will not cooperate, or, in extreme cases
  • may close the business

if you arrange the invigilation in advance, then you should follow the guidance for an unannounced inspection, see CH25520. Make sure you give the occupier of the premises the appropriate factsheet when you arrive.

If you expect the customer to object to your invigilation you should seek Tribunal approval, see CH25540.

If, during an invigilation exercise, the customer asks you to leave then you must do so.

If you have the approval of a Tribunal for the inspection you must make it clear that you can charge a penalty where a customer unreasonably obstructs an inspection.

Further detailed information on how to carry out an invigilation can be found in the VAT Control Notes.