Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what this means

HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

How to do a compliance check: authorised officer: roles of an authorised officer

An authorised officer is an HMRC officer who has the authority to undertake certain actions and to agree for other officers to use certain information, data-gathering and inspection powers. Not all staff within HMRC are authorised officers. An authorised officer has an important and key responsibility in the use of information, data-gathering and inspection powers. Different officers are authorised for different purposes, so some staff will be authorised for one purpose but not for others.

It is important to recognise that the agreement of the authorised officer is not necessarily the only or main safeguard in the use of information, data-gathering and inspection powers. In some cases there are also rights of appeal and/or approval by the tribunal which apply before an action can be enforced.

In addition to possessing practical knowledge and skills based on the use of information and inspection powers, an authorised officer will have been trained to undertake the role of authorised officer.

An authorised officer will provide an independent scrutiny of the course of action under consideration. He or she will review the request for approval with a critical eye and use their knowledge, experience and skills to determine whether what is being requested

  • is the most appropriate course of action
  • is reasonable and proportionate to the risks identified
  • is consistent with the standards required for that area of HMRC’s work
  • satisfies the four conditions at CH23995 when they are considering whether to issue an identification notice.

Where an authorised officer has to give agreement or has taken an action on your behalf, they will be responsible for

  • ensuring the use of information, data-gathering and inspection powers is reasonable, proportionate and HRA-compliant, see CH21300 
  • giving assurance that the use of information, data-gathering and inspection powers is applied consistently in similar situations across HMRC
  • providing safeguards that contentious areas of the information, data-gathering and inspection powers are used properly
  • ensuring that officers are using the information, data-gathering and inspection powers legitimately
  • ensuring that case officers consider whether the information required can be obtained by other means.