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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Supporting Guidance: business records checks: at the visit: what if your judgement is disputed

If your Business Records Check is disputed by the customer or their agent, you should

  • try to resolve any disagreement at the visit
  • explain the facts on which you have based your judgement and the reasons for recommending improvements to the statutory records, and advise the customer

    • that there is no statutory avenue of resolution or appeal to challenge the initial judgement made in these circumstances, as no immediate tax or penalty implication arises from this judgement
    • to reconsider their dispute. If the customer refuses to reconsider, they can request an independent review by the nominated BRC specialist.

Where the customer provides additional facts, you should be prepared to change your mind if you find on reflection that you agree with the customer’s views. The key points of the discussion must be recorded in your notebook.

If you are confident that your original judgement is still appropriate, or if your judgement has been upheld by the nominated specialist, then you must discuss the case with your manager.

Manager’s Action

Managers should review the facts recorded in your notebook which include the key information you have considered and the details of any discussion held with the customer, as well as why you arrived at your judgement.

The manager will also have access to the nominated specialist’s notes.

The manager should then make a reasonable decision on whether they agree with your judgement or not.

Where the manager agrees that the business records are inadequate, they should consider the appropriate follow-up action, having regard to the reasons for the customer’s disagreement.

The emphasis, both at the visit and in the closing letter, is to stress that it is the customer’s obligation to hold and maintain adequate statutory records in order to be able to submit an accurate return of business profits at the end of the period.