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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

HM Revenue & Customs
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Supporting Guidance: business records checks: at the visit: refusal of entry to the business premises and inspect records

Guidance covering the refusal by a customer to allow inspection can be found at CH25650 - Failure to allow an inspection.[]()Note that this only relates to formal inspections, not to arranged visits where the visit is on a voluntary basis and can be ended at any time by the customer.

If you are unable to confirm the visit arranged by the Work Allocation Team (WAT) with the customer, you must discuss this with your manager. If your manager considers there is clear obstruction, you must follow the process to ask the tribunal to approve the ‘business records checks’ inspection, see CH25540 - Tribunal Approval. Any reasons given for not letting you onto the premises will need to be put before the tribunal.

Refusal to inspect the business records

If permission to view the business records is refused, you should refer the case to your manager to consider the appropriate action.

You must, in all circumstances, ensure you do not exceed your legal powers.

Business records not held at the business premises

The legislation in Schedule 36 Finance Act 2008 (which we use for BRC purposes) only allows us to inspect the statutory business records on the business premises. BRC visits should therefore be arranged at the customer’s business premises if at all possible. However there may be occasions when the customer or their agent suggests an alternative location for inspection.

Before agreeing to visit the alternative premises you must discuss and agree this with your manager, or their deputy. You must also consider any Health and Safety issues before going ahead, see HR62040.[]()

Usually WAT will arrange BRC visits at the customer’s business premises, but some visits may be arranged at agent’s premises. While this is acceptable (as the current business records may be kept there) this should be an exception rather than the rule.

Reviewing business records at customers’ private residences

Some customers operate their business activities entirely or partly from their private address. If this is the case, you must only enter the part of the private address used in connection with the business. You do not have the right to enter or inspect any part of those premises used solely as private use unless invited to do so.

You have the legal power to enter the premises and carry out the inspection but cannot enter by using force. If the customer refuses entry or inspection you may ask the Tribunal to approve a further notice. This means that you would visit these premises at a later date and a refusal then would leave the customer liable to penalties.

It is essential that any visit to a customer’s private premises is exercised with care and consideration at all times. Customers have a right to privacy under HRA article 8 see CH21340 and may refuse to let you enter.

See COG11840 - for information on making video and audio recordings of visits.