Inspection Visits

The procedure for carrying out an inspection is dealt with in FA 2008, Sch. 36, para, 12 and 13. Inspections can be announced or unannounced.

Announced Inspection Visits

The minimum notice to be given for an announced inspection is seven days. It can be less if:-

  • The occupier agrees
  • If the inspection is carried out by, or with the agreement of an authorised officer
  • It is approved by the Tribunal

If seven days’ notice is insufficient for a particular business, this should be made clear to the officer who should take this into account when agreeing a reasonable time for the visit. If the officer wants to carry out a visit with less than seven days’ notice they must explain the reasons for the short notice.

It is important that taxpayers are aware of the need to be informed by their staff of any approach made by HMRC to arrange an inspection visit so that agreement to the date and time is made by a suitably senior and authorised person.

If the visit is announced, HMRC may issue an information notice in respect of the business records and any other information and documents needed for checking the person’s tax position so that they are available at the time of an inspection visit.

Unannounced Inspection Visits

An unannounced visit will be made if HMRC consider it necessary that it should be carried out with agreement or advance warning. An unannounced visit can only be carried out either:-

  • By, or with the agreement of, an authorised officer
  • With the approval of the Tribunal


A written notice permitting an unannounced visit must be handed to the occupier, together with the Factsheet on unannounced visits. The notice must show the date and the time the inspection visit is to be carried out.

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