RSTP2023 - Extra powers for inspection of business premises

RSTPA guidance on the additional powers available to Revenue Scotland or designated person when carrying out an inspection of business premises of a person or involved third party.

When carrying out an inspection of your business premises or those of an involved third party we have the following powers, in addition to those listed in RSTP2020 or RSTP2021 (whichever applies) and RSTP2028:

  • we can bring along a person who we consider is needed to assist with the inspection. That person may enter and inspect the property with us and need not be a Revenue Scotland employee. We may also be accompanied by a police constable if there is reasonable cause to apprehend any serious obstruction in the execution of the inspection;
  • we can make any examination or investigation that we consider necessary in the circumstances;
  • we can direct that any part (or all) of the premises, and anything in them, must be left undisturbed (whether generally or in particular respects). This can be for as long as is reasonably necessary for the purpose of any examination or investigation;
  • we can take samples of material on the premises, including carrying out experimental borings or other works on the premises and installing, keeping or maintaining monitoring and other apparatus there. Any sample taken must be disposed of in such manner as we may determine; and
  • we can take and use on the premises any equipment or materials, including heavy machinery, required for any purpose for which the inspection is being carried out. This power can only be exercised at a time agreed to by the occupier of the premises, unless:
  • the occupier of the premises was given at least seven days’ notice in writing of the time of the inspection and the notice stated an intention to use this power; or
  • we have reasonable grounds for believing that giving advance notice of the exercising of this power would seriously prejudice the assessment or collection of tax,

in which case the power can be exercised at any reasonable time.

If no advance notice of the exercising of this power was given, at the beginning of the inspection we must provide a written notice to:

  • the occupier of the premises if they are present; or
  • a person who appears to us to be in charge of the premises, if the occupier is not present.

If neither of the above applies, the written notice must be left in a prominent place on the premises.

This written notice must state the possible consequences of obstructing us in the exercise of this power and, if the exercising of the power has been approved by the tribunal, it must also state this.

These powers are not available to us when carrying out an inspection for the purpose of valuing, measuring or determining the character of the premises or property (see RSTP2025).

RSTPA 2014 section 144

When we (or a person authorised by us) leave the premises we will tell the person receiving the inspection what will happen next. For example, that:

  • we will return the next day to continue the inspection;
  • we have finished the inspection and will write to them with the outcome; or we have finished the inspection and the enquiry will continue in other areas.
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