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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Agent operational guidance: poor agent behaviour: agent's behaviour, although legal, gives HMRC cause for concern: resistance to attending meetings

Meetings can actually reduce the costs and length of a check, because so much more can be covered at a meeting than in prolonged correspondence.

Agents sometime consider that their clients’ interests are best served by declining to bring their client to a meeting. This is perfectly legal and does not necessarily mean the client has anything to hide, but it results in a level of engagement which is unnecessarily adversarial and less than desirable in a professional ‘Working Together’ relationship.

You should be careful to check that an objection to a meeting is not as a result of mobility issues. If it is, you should try and find an alternative approach such as arranging to meet at a suitable venue of the customer’s or agent’s choosing.

Although meetings can be extremely helpful in shortening or resolving a check we have no powers to insist on a meeting. EM1861 sets out some of the arguments we can use to persuade the customer and their agent a meeting is the best way forward in direct tax cases.