Meeting the Inspector

i) to obtain facts about the way a business is run, and the records that are kept;

ii) to obtain information about the owners of a business;

iii) to explain areas of concern, and seek information that will either satisfy these concerns or else will help to quantify any understatement of income or profit;

iv) to give an opportunity for a disclosure of irregularities to be made;

v) to assess those under investigation;

vi) to quantify and agree the levels of understated profits or income;

vii) to settle an investigation or enquiry.

The Inland Revenue cannot insist upon a meeting, merely request one. It is up to those under investigation whether to agree to meet or not. Factors to consider when deciding whether a meeting is appropriate are:

i) the time and expense, including professional costs, of attending;

ii) the stress caused by such a meeting that is often suffered by those under investigation or enquiry;

iii) a lot can often be achieved in a meeting, avoiding protracted correspondence and ultimately reducing costs;

iv) it is possible to ask for an agenda in advance, setting out the broad areas that the Inspector intends to cover;

v) the Inspector may see the refusal to meet as a sign of non co-operation, if there is a reason to meet;

vi) if a meeting is refused and no agreement can be reached, the Inspector may have the opportunity to ask the same question under cross examination at a contentious Commissioners meeting;

vii) meetings may be terminated at any point if the Inspector is acting unreasonably or is aggressive, or for any other reason;

viii) the Inspector cannot insist upon a meeting being held at a particular venue, such as Inland Revenue offices, business premises or a private residence; a neutral venue such as the office of the taxation advisor is often preferable;

ix) the Inspector is obliged to take notes of meetings and to provide a copy of those notes if requested. (See Inland Revenue Enquiry Manual EM1833).This gives an opportunity to put on record at an early stage any disagreement with the content of the note and also to provide explanatory information or correct inaccurate information provided at the meeting where necessary.

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