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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Working the Enquiry: Meetings: General

In more complex cases you will need to consider whether holding a meeting with the taxpayer or their book-keeper/accountant will be the most effective way of establishing all the relevant facts.

The information you need for many enquiries will not just consist of records and documentation but also of explanations from the taxpayer. It will often save time and costs if you obtain those explanations at a meeting rather than by correspondence.

A meeting with the business’s book-keeper or accountant may also be valuable in understanding how the records were built up and link together and how the accounts have been prepared. In some cases a meeting with the book-keeper or accountant may enable you to resolve issues without troubling the taxpayer.

The number of meetings, the subject matter, and who attends will depend on the circumstances but you should bear in mind that meetings can be expensive and inconvenient for taxpayers.

You must always make notes of

  • any meetings you hold
  • any telephone conversations in which you discuss matters relevant to the enquiry.

Notes are important evidence and you may have to present them before a tribunal. They will also be required if we find it necessary to commence a criminal investigation. In criminal proceedings full disclosure is required under the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996.

Your notes should be a factual summary and should cover all the important points of a meeting or telephone conversation. You should normally make a copy of your notes available to the taxpayer or agent and invite them to agree or otherwise comment on their accuracy.