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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Supporting Guidance: business records checks: overview: booking and undertaking visits

Booking visits

All cases identified for visits, including high risk cases and those where Compliance Centres were unable to make contact with the customers, are passed to a Work Allocation Team (WAT) for visit booking.

WAT calls these customers to arrange a date and time for the Business Records Check (BRC) visit. WAT passes the agreed visit date and time to the appropriate Visiting Officer.

Where WAT cannot pre-agree a visit, they issue letter BRC4 - informal inspection notice request (available in SEES Forms and Letters).

In all cases WAT confirms the visit details in a follow-up letter, for both agreed and not agreed visits. Where WAT has not been able to arrange an agreed visit, they give the customer a time and a date for a visit to take place.

Undertaking visits

As a Visiting Officer you have the responsibility for the BRC visit from the point you are notified of the visit, either through Outlook (the appointment is inserted in your calendar by WAT) or allocated to you through Caseflow.

You must

  • undertake the visit
  • record the outcomes
  • consider any follow-up actions and make recommendations
  • finalise and close the case.

A BRC visit usually takes place at the customer’s business premises, see COG940725. It involves discussing the business and the customer’s record-keeping systems, and reviewing a sample of the statutory business records for adequacy.

BRC visits should be undertaken by one Visiting Officer. You must follow existing risk assessment procedures in relation to compliance visits, see COG11500. It is for the local manager (see local manager’s BRC responsibilities below) to consider if the Visiting Officer should be accompanied by another officer on their visit.

The length of a visit can vary according to the size, type and complexity of the business. However, the majority of visits should be completed within two hours.

BRC visits should be conducted within normal business hours.

It is important you understand that you are making a judgement solely on whether the statutory business records viewed are adequate. On the BRC visit you must not:

  • analyse accounts
  • make judgements or recommendations on the specific format of the business records
  • check the credibility of the figures within the records or
  • take a view on the tax implication under any tax regime.

Note: Self sourcing of casework is not part of BRC. If a compliance risk is identified in addition to the record keeping risk assessed in the BRC selection process, it should be referred to RIS for take up as appropriate. See guidance at CH301100 - Action to take in particular circumstances in your compliance check.

Local manager

A local Manager is responsible for each team of BRC Visiting Officers. They are the first point of contact for:

  • additional assistance and support
  • authorisation or approval for certain parts of the BRC process (for example, follow-up visits and referrals).

They are also responsible for undertaking quality assurance checks.