Supporting Guidance: business records checks: preparation for the visit: your conduct, professionalism and customer confidentiality
CH201300 sets out the existing safeguards for customers that apply at all times. These ensure that HMRC staff act reasonably and that any actions they take:
- are appropriate to the circumstances
- are in accordance with the Taxes Acts
- do not infringe a person’s rights under the Human Rights Act; see also CH21300
- are consistent with the requirements of the Data Protection Act, see IDG30210.
On the visit you must:
- introduce yourself to the customer and show them your HMRC ID. If you are accompanied on your visit, the accompanying officer must also introduce themselves and present their HMRC ID.
- explain the purpose of your visit to the customer or nominated representative only, and make sure they understand the BRC process. The opening letter and subsequent telephone call to book a visit should have provided the customer with sufficient information about this, but you need to clarify the customer’s understanding at the outset of your visit.
- ask to see the person with whom the meeting has been arranged if the first contact is not with the customer.
- be discreet, especially if the premises are open to members of the public.
You have a legal obligation to maintain customer confidentiality.
There is more guidance on customer confidentiality at EM0070. This must be followed at all times.