Beta This part of GOV.UK is being rebuilt – find out what this means

HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Working the Enquiry: Meetings: Visits to Third Parties

The instructions EM1831, EM1832 on visits to the private residences of taxpayers generally apply to visits to a third party. You must also remember to observe scrupulously the confidentiality of the taxpayer in whom you are interested. If at all possible, you should obtain a mandate from the taxpayer under enquiry before contacting the third party. Suitable wording could be

“To ……………………….

I authorise you to give to ………………………… or any other authorised officer of HM Revenue & Customs, such information and documents as they may request concerning any transactions or business I have had with you at any time.

Signed ……………………………………

Name and Address ………………………………………………………”

Conduct of visit

You must

  • other than the taxpayer’s name and address, preserve the confidentiality of the taxpayer throughout your contact with any third party IDG32000 
  • not give any impression that the taxpayer’s affairs may be under enquiry with HMRC
  • take particular care when there may be neighbours around, especially in flats where conversations can often be overheard, or at business premises where employees/colleagues or clients of a business are present
  • not suggest you have a right to any papers or documents unless you have a statutory notice
  • only take papers and documents away with you with the consent of the owner. You should give a receipt
  • explain the owner’s legal rights and your statutory powers. You should make it clear that you are seeking their voluntary co-operation for example
  • carry out your enquiries with the minimum disruption for the person and in a manner which will not give rise to complaints. It is better to avoid adding to any potential problem or distress by terminating the meeting and arranging a new time with an adviser present
  • always make a note of the visit, including an accurate account of what happened EM1831.

You should handle visits as sensitively as possible because you can easily appear to be heavy handed or oppressive in this type of situation.