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HMRC internal manual

Insurance Premium Tax

IPT audit assurance: assurance - miscellaneous matters

Payment of IPT

It is very unlikely that an insurer will offer to pay an IPT liability in cash during a visit. If cash is offered to settle an outstanding debt, the insurer should be told that it would be easier and more secure if payment were made by more orthodox means, such as cheques or bankers’ drafts. Cheques should be made payable to H M Revenue & Customs and crossed A/C PAYEE ONLY.

Where there is a real risk of a loss to the revenue if you fail to accept payment in cash you should:

  • accept and count the cash;
  • issue a receipt to the insurer, and place a copy in the folder;
  • ensure you can convey the cash safely to your office - for example, travel by car or taxi, rather than other public transport;
  • deliver the cash to your cashier’s office and obtain a receipt - fix this in your diary and place a copy in the insurer’s folder.

Custody of official papers

Under no circumstances should official books or papers be left unattended at an insurer’s premises.

Lost folders

Where a folder has been stolen, irretrievably lost or its contents damaged beyond legibility, it will have to be reconstructed as far as possible. A report should be prepared and submitted to senior managers outlining the circumstances of the loss.

Officer’s notebooks

The following guidelines apply to notebooks.

  • Number each notebook and use them consecutively.
  • Identify the visit in the notebook, by date, time, IPT registration number, people interviewed.
  • If you take rough notes on separate sheets, attach them to the appropriate page of the notebook.
  • Avoid superfluous, cryptic or derogatory comments.
  • Retain all notebooks for 6 years.

Make the notes in the notebook either at the time or immediately afterwards but certainly on the same day.

Disclosure of information about insurers and other persons

In almost any visit to an insurer you will receive information about that insurer and its clients. You may, from other visits, have other information about its competitors and their clients. While you will use this information to balance what you see and hear in interviews and from your examination of documents, you should never disclose information that comes to you in this way to insurers or any other person outside the Department. Disclosure of information is subject to strict rules under legislation such as the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Freedom of Information Act 2000. The Information Disclosure Guidance provides further detailed advice on the procedures that must be followed.

Weeding of insurers’ folders

It is essential that only relevant papers are retained in traders’ folders. Weeding of folders, carried out as part of routine good housekeeping practice, can minimise the possibility of inaccurate or prejudicial documents being held.

Health and safety

Officers are responsible for their own safety and should be aware of hazards present in their working environment. Full details of health and safety Full details of health and safety considerations are detailed in the HS Series Guidance.