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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Supporting Guidance: business records checks: tribunals

You should, in consultation with your manager, decide the most effective way of overcoming delay where there is a lack of cooperation by the customer in promptly providing information and/or access to the statutory business records.

If the customer refuses entry to the business premises to carry out an inspection, or in cases where you can anticipate that entry will be refused, you should where appropriate seek advance approval from the tribunal for the inspection. This will help to deter non-cooperation and allow you to impose penalties if your attempt to carry out the inspection is obstructed, see CH270000.

Where an authorised officer’s approval is provided to seek a tribunal-approved notice, you should issue an opportunity letter IIP02 (available in SEES) where you are seeking information by way of a notice. This shows the tribunal that you have given the customer the chance to provide what is needed voluntarily, see CH23520.

Where a tribunal approval is required to issue an information notice, you should ensure your request to the tribunal also covers approval for an inspection notice so you can inspect the statutory records at the business premises, see CH223400.

You will normally be the decision maker with whom the customer is in dispute; therefore you need to be available to attend the hearing when the tribunal considers the application. You should, where appropriate, be accompanied by a suitably experienced colleague.

The procedures in the Compliance Handbook at CH265000 (applying to tribunal for approval to give a Sch36 FA notice and preparing for the hearing) must be followed, as appropriate to the case.