Finance Act 2008, Sch. 36 contains inspection powers that enable HMRC to inspect business premises, business assets and statutory records. Such inspections form an important part of carrying out compliance checks.
The powers must be used reasonably and proportionately and can only be used to inspect business premises. They cannot be used to inspect premises that are used wholly for residential purposes. It will be noted that the premises must be used wholly for residential purposes to be exempt form the powers. If they are used only partly for business purposes then they are subject to HMRC’s inspection powers.
There are safeguards built into the legislation intended to ensure that the use of the powers is reasonable and proportionate. HMRC have also put procedures in place to ensure that staff are aware of the limitations on the use of these powers and of the need not to breach a taxpayer’s right to privacy under the Human Rights Act 1998.