I was reading about the impact of HMRC unannouced visits on businesses in an *accountancy journal and thought non-accountants might be interested in knowing about a tactic employed by the HMRC when (presumably) other contact methods fail.
Unannounced inspection visits by HMRC are becoming commonplace and can be carried out at any time within the trading establishment’s trading hours. This means a night club/bar can be visited at midnight and accounting records requested whether customers are still on site or not.
Schedule 36 of the Finance Act 2008 grants HMRC the powers to perform unannounced visits, and the HMRC Compliance checks factsheet – CC/FS4, which must be provided during a visit, gives information about what to expect when officers appear at the door. It also states the likely penalties should a doorstepping authorised by a tribunal (First-tier Tribunal) be met with a refusal from the taxpayer.
Tax payers, however, need to be aware that an unannounced visit authorised by a senior HMRC official can be refused.
Finally, if business is carried out at home, HMRC is only authorised to enter the part(s) used for business purposes unless they are there to carry out a valuation.
*International Accountants issue 99 May/June 2018