HMRC power to require information and documents

By Tolley in association with Guy Smith of inTAX Ltd

The following Employment Tax guidance note by Tolley in association with Guy Smith of inTAX Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • HMRC power to require information and documents
  • Introduction
  • Pre-return checks
  • Information notices
  • Statutory records
  • Safeguards
  • Inspection visits to business premises
  • Penalties
  • Appeals


A new framework, supported by the powers within FA 2008, Sch 36 exists for compliance checks. It enables HMRC Officers to:

  • visit business premises to inspect the premises, assets and statutory records
  • ask taxpayers and third parties for information and documents where they are reasonably required to check a tax position

It is only reasonable to carry out a check where it is possible for the Officer to correct the tax position. If the risk identified is for a period which is out of time for assessment, the Officer should not pursue the risk.

A ‘tax position’ means a person’s past, present and future liability position with regard to any of the taxes listed at CH21540.

The new powers contained within FA 2008, Sch 36 took effect from 1 April 2009 and initially applied to:

  • income tax
  • capital gains tax
  • corporation tax
  • PAYE
  • national insurance contributions
  • construction industry scheme (CIS)
  • student loans, and
  • VAT

With effect from 1 April 2010, the majority of the remaining taxes administered by HMRC were brought within the remit of FA 2008, Sch 36.

A list of the powers replaced by FA 2008, Sch 36 can be found in CH21050.

Pre-return checks

FA 2008, Sch 36 allows a compliance check to be made before a return has been submitted. A risk must be identified before an Officer carries out a pre-return check, unless the taxpayer has invited the Officer to make the check.

HMRC conducts pre-return checks in high risk cases where fraud is suspected or where the person is working

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