The essential first step to be taken by a small business un regard to a tax inspection happens long before that small business is advised a tax enquiry is about to take place. That first step is to obtain and retain receipts and third party evidence for every sale and purchase and maintain accurate accounting records.
If the small business accepts a meeting with the tax inspector it is important to prepare for the meeting correctly. Such preparation would involve reviewing all bookkeeping records prior to the meeting and arranging them in a reasonable order, double checking the accounts do not contain any obvious errors and also obtaining from the tax inspector prior to the meeting a detailed note of all areas to be discussed.
Information requests outside of the scope of the tax investigation and personal records can be denied unless the request is reasonable and relevant to the enquiry. Care should be taken in casual conversations either before or after meetings or phone calls as these are times when the business or its staff may answer questions innocently but remember that those innocent chats are with a professional intent on examining every conceivable path to determine if the maximum tax liability has been generated.
Under UK law there is no regulation stating that a tax payer has to attend a meeting with the tax inspector. Meetings with tax inspectors can result in many questions being asked which increase the tax liability from lack of knowledge of the tax rules and sheer frustration by the small business to get the job done and over with. If called to a meeting a professional tax advisor or experienced accountant attending on behalf of the client or in place of the client is undoubtedly a better option.
Tax inspectors are observant and on visiting the premises will assimilate many areas to be investigated by simply looking around or idle chat with members of staff. When a tax inspector is invited to the home the general lifestyle of the tax payer would be assessed in relation to the profits declared.
If the business can afford it then engage a specialist firm of tax advisors to negotiate on behalf of the business. The best tax advisors are often either experienced tax accountants or former revenue employees who know the rules and can conduct the enquiry on behalf of the business in a professional manner.