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HMRC internal manual

VAT Small and Medium Enterprises Assurance Manual

Confidentiality: The Visit

You must explain the main reason for your visit, providing any necessary reassurance tothe trader that the Department will deal with his tax affairs confidentially. In mostcases involving a pre-arranged appointment, it is expected that the explanation of yourpurpose should entail no more than reminding the trader of the information which you haveprovided previously, when making initial contact.

In the case of a visit to a third party / customer or supplier, however, it may benecessary, at some stage, to explain that information in his business records, and thoseof other traders, may assist in verifying the VAT accounts of the principals involved. Inso doing, you should indicate that your enquiries are of a routine nature and avoidadvising the trader that a particular business is being investigated. A record should bemade in your notebook of anything said to the trader in this regard together with thetrader’s response. While it is recognised that the trader may be able to concludefrom your request that this is the case, you should say or do nothing to confirm it.