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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Supporting Guidance: business records checks: at the visit: background to the business

You should meet only with the customer (or other suitably nominated, authorised person and/or agent), in order to confirm the basic understanding of what the business does and its day to day operation, including:

  • the name or names of the owner or owners
  • type of business:

    • a sole trader
    • in partnership (name of partner or partners)
    • a Limited Company
  • an overview of the nature of the business
  • the goods or services sold or provided
  • a description of the customer base and area covered
  • what, if any, significant changes have occurred in the business’s activities over the past 12 months
  • approximate level of monthly business receipts
  • fluctuations in trading levels (for instance some businesses may be busier at weekends or during the main holiday seasons)
  • who the key personnel are and their roles in the business
  • the number of staff, if applicable
  • whether staff are full-time or part-time
  • whether staff are subject to PAYE or self-employed
  • the customer’s reference numbers for VAT, PAYE and CIS, where appropriate
  • an overview of all records kept (for example manual cash books, spreadsheets, off-the shelf computer package, invoices or diaries)
  • who maintains the records (what accounting or bookkeeping experience do they have?)
  • who prepares the end of year tax returns?