Where CDF offer is made up to 29 June 2014: the initial meeting: taxpayers with language or health difficulties
In any meeting you should always follow the guidance on dealing with people with health problems. The material in the Compliance Operational Guidance Manual (COG) is being rewritten and in the meantime you should refer to the guidance on customer contact in DMBM513165.
You must always prompt taxpayers invited to any meeting to let you know about any health problems or language difficulties sufficient to require special arrangements. Usually advisers will volunteer this information but you must check because if a person has a health problem we are obliged, under the Equality Act 2010, to make any reasonable adjustments that are required to ensure they are not treated less favourably than any other person, because of their health problems.
Investigators should find out, where possible, if taxpayers invited to a meeting have health problems or language difficulties sufficient to require special arrangements. Usually advisers will volunteer this information, but it is always best to check.
If there are serious health problems the Investigator should try to agree a basis for the meeting to proceed which is within the capacity of the taxpayer, with any breaks for medication from the outset. More frequent breaks are recommended in this situation and you should adopt your approach to ensure that the taxpayer is not treated less favourably than any other person.
Where the taxpayer has difficulty speaking or understanding English, where it is possible, you should ensure that an interpreter is available. A meeting must not progress where it is clear that an interpreter is needed and one is not present. You must use a professional interpreter rather than rely on the taxpayer’s representative or family member. You must consider obtaining translation of key documents.
HMRC does not have a legal obligation to provide an interpreter, but where we can we will try to help a taxpayer who wishes to meet with us.
(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)