A6.604 Taxpayer safeguards relating to compliance checks
A number of restrictions and safeguards have been built into the framework, although concern has been expressed that there should be more statutory safeguards for the taxpayer, rather than leaving these to be expressed in HMRC guidance.
The main safeguards are in relation to appeal rights (see A6.615) and the need for Tribunal approval or prior authorisation at a senior level within HMRC for some of the more intrusive powers such as unannounced visits (see A6.624).
Restrictions on HMRC's information and inspection powers are set out in legislation1. For an overview of these powers, see A6.610 (information powers) and A6.620 (inspection powers).
The information must be 'reasonably required', and an information notice only requires the person to produce information that is in their power or possession2. Certain old documents do not have to be produced, although this requirement may be disapplied with the agreement of an authorised officer3, and certain material is exempt from the provisions of an information notice (see A6.614).
Under certain circumstances the issue of a notice must be approved by the First-tier Tribunal4, and in the case of third party notices and financial institution notices, the taxpayer must receive a summary of the reasons for the notice, unless the Tribunal believes that to do so would prejudice the assessment or collection of tax5.
A notice may not be issued to check the tax position for a period for which a return has already been made (for income tax, capital gains tax or