Investigation work: opening under Code 8: meeting brief
Notes of meetings should be made and should be of a high standard. It is not possible to maintain verbatim records and this should not be attempted. It should be made clear at the start of the meeting that a verbatim note will not be produced.
A manuscript note of all that takes place should be made. These notes must be of sufficient detail to show what substantive questions were asked and which responses received. All manuscript notes made must be retained in the case papers.
In addition to recording the substance of questions asked and answers received, the notes should also show a record of when breaks were taken, when individuals left or joined the meeting etc.
It is the Investigator’s responsibility to prepare as quickly as possible after the meeting a typescript note of the meeting. The Investigator may consider that the case merits the issue of the notes to the taxpayer and/or agent with a request that these be signed to signify their agreement that the notes form a true record of the proceedings at the meeting. All HMRC attendees should sign the notes.
The taxpayer/agent can request a copy of our notes of meeting at any time and have the right to comment upon their content or accuracy.
The Investigator cannot insist that the taxpayer agrees notes of interview but he or she should explain that such record could be useful to everyone later if the matter requires to be referred to the First-tier Tribunal.
Where a taxpayer or adviser asks to tape-record a meeting this can be accepted provided that the adviser agrees to produce a full verbatim typed transcript at the taxpayer’s expense. They must also agree that a copy will be made available to SI along with an unedited copy of the original tapes (see EM1835).
The Investigator should still ensure that full manuscript notes are maintained and a summary note drawn up, the latter with the benefit of the transcript.
In the appropriate case, agreement to the Investigator’s summary note should still be sought.
It is essential that the note of meeting be limited to factual matters. Opinions or judgements should not be incorporated into the notes unless they were specifically expressed during the course of the meeting.
EM1835 refers to the video recording of meetings. This should not be agreed without the authority of the Assistant Director as SI Investigators are engaged in sensitive work and there are security issues to consider.