Having agreed with the taxpayer’s agent the scope of the report and the time by which it is to be submitted, the investigator will also agree dates for interim visits to the agent’s office to monitor progress. Although some advisers see these progress meetings as intrusive, they can be very helpful, providing opportunity for discussion of the results of the adviser’s enquiries to date and for the investigator to indicate areas where he considers more detailed enquiries might be made. They also provide useful occasions to agree how best to deal with any difficulties which may have arisen in pursuing particular lines of enquiry so as to avoid prolonged correspondence. Obtaining the investigator’s views provides useful clues as to what he will/will not find acceptable when the report is finalized and establishing a rapport can significantly aid the progress of the investigation.
If unexpected problems have arisen which make it unlikely that the agreed deadline for submission of the report will be met, the agent should explain them to the investigator and agree with him a revised timetable. In this way it will be possible to work to a sensible programme without the distraction of precept hearings before the commissioners. On reviewing progress to date, the investigator might suggest a further payment on account.