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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Working the Enquiry: Meetings: Conduct at a Private Residence

You must bear in mind that

  • you are an invited guest of the taxpayer
  • you must carry out the visit in a professional manner
  • your conduct must be beyond reproach.

If others are present at the house, especially children, you must ensure that you preserve confidentiality at all times and allow the taxpayer to explain your presence to them.

You may ask to see potentially relevant records and documents but although you may ask, you are not entitled to insist upon seeing where they are kept. You may not insist upon a tour of the house. If you ask to see something but the taxpayer refuses to co-operate, even after you have explained your reasons for your request, you should not pursue the matter.

You may wish to take away records or other documents for examination or copying. If so, you should ensure you have the owner’s permission to do this and then make a list for the taxpayer of the items you take, with a copy of the list for yourself. Both lists should be signed by you and the taxpayer.

If the existence of a cash hoard is disclosed, it should be counted, preferably in the presence of a non HMRC witness. If possible, ask the agent to count the money. Under no circumstances should you allow yourself to be left alone with cash or any other valuable and easily removable asset.

If the taxpayer wishes to make a payment on account you may accept a cheque payable to HM Revenue and Customs provided you give the taxpayer a receipt. You should never accept cash.

You should always make a note of the time of your visit and its duration.