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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Information Powers: TMA70/S20: Compliance with the Notice

TMA70/S20B (4)


The recipient of any notice is required to deliver the documents to the officer but they may find it more convenient to have the documents inspected elsewhere. The recipient of a third party notice under TMA70/S20(3) may elect to make the documents available for inspection instead. If such a request or election is made you should refer to EM2420.

Photographic or facsimile copies of documents rather than originals are permitted.

But you do have the right to inspect the original document. If a document appears to have been tampered with, contact Special Investigations immediately.

If requested, a receipt should be given for documents delivered. But it is preferable to give a reasonably detailed receipt after the documents have been examined or checked against any list furnished with them. A detailed receipt should never be signed except by a person who has checked its accuracy.

Original documents delivered in compliance with a Section 20 notice remain the property of the person who delivers them and he is entitled to have them returned with the least delay consistent with reasonable HMRC requirement. Documents should always be examined without delay after delivery, and the return of any which are not needed (and are conveniently separable) should be offered at once. In deciding how long others should be retained, the reasonable requirements of the owner must be taken into account. Once a request for the return of documents is made, it should usually be possible to avoid conflict by taking photocopies for retention and returning the originals.

Where the person delivers photocopies instead of originals, it may be assumed, unless a request for their return is made, that the copies are intended to become the property of HMRC.

You may take copies of documents or particulars delivered or made available.