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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Supporting Guidance: business records checks: at the visit: changing the appointment

Customer requests change of appointment

If the customer requests an alternative time and date for the Business Records Check (BRC) visit, you must telephone the WAT to confirm suitable availability, as you may not be aware of any recent bookings made by the WAT that have been recorded in your calendar.

Visiting Officer needs to change appointment

If, due to exceptional circumstances, you are unable to attend an arranged visit, you or your manager must contact the customer to agree alternative arrangements.

These cases must not be returned to WAT to deal with.

Customer not present at visit

In some cases the customer may wish to appoint another person, other than the nominated agent, to discuss the business’s record-keeping process with you, for example an employee with the good knowledge of the bookkeeping system. If so, this person must have a written authorisation from the customer appointing them as their representative for the BRC visit. See Comp1 and tax adviser authorisation for compliance(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) BGN041 for more details. This is acceptable. However, the customer must ensure this appointed person has all the relevant facts to provide you with the full and accurate information.

If you have any doubts about the appointed person’s authority you must not ask them any questions. However, it is reasonable to continue to examine the records, if you have agreed this with the customer. Where you decide to examine the records your notes will need to be sufficiently detailed as you may, subsequently, need to base an information request to the customer on them. Any such request would be to establish the record-keeping process, to identify the ‘statutory records’ and whether or not they are adequate for BRC purposes.

You must ensure customer confidentiality at all times and confirm the outcomes of your visit in a letter to the customer.