What are your rights when Revenue visits your business premises?

by | General

What are your rights when Revenue visits your business premises?

A visit to a taxpayer’s premises by revenue falls into three categories:

  • Routine visits
  • Checking of records or stock
  • Detailed examination of taxpayer’s records or goods

Routine visits would generally be brief and can be made without a prior appointment.

Revenue have the right at all reasonable times, to enter premises where they have reason to believe a business is carried on.

They can:

  • Require the production of certain records or property relating to a named taxpayer
  • Examine, extract from or remove records relating to a named taxpayer
  • Examine property relating to a named taxpayer

Your rights


  • Revenue Officers must identify themselves on meeting the taxpayer.
  • They should produce their Identity Card and a Business card showing their contact details.
  • If part of the premises has a residential use, Revenue can only enter that part with the permission of the taxpayer.
  • If the timing of an unannounced visit is inconvenient you can request a postponement. This does not apply to spot checks on records or cash register activity.
  • It also does not apply to investigations. In such cases, immediately seek legal advice. NB: legal advice not just your accountant. as there are issues of legal privileges and collection of evidence.
  • If the owner is not present, Revenue may await his or her arrival. If this is over an hour they will proceed with the visit and deal with the most senior staff member present.
  • In the owner’s absence, staff cannot be questioned about the owners’ personal matters e.g. building ownership.
  • Legal/professional privilege. This can only apply to a legal representative acting in their legal capacity. Accountants do not have this. Communication with your accountant is not privileged.
  • Revenue cannot speak with customers.
  • A visit is not an audit. Therefore, except in certain investigations you still have the right to make qualifying disclosures.


  • Revenue have the power to seize goods in certain VAT cases
  • Revenue can seize goods in cases relating to customs, tobacco, alcohol, fuels or any goods where Duty is payable.
  • They can also seize motor vehicles in relation to VRT
  • Revenue must give a full list to the taxpayer of any goods seized.

Search of an Individual

This can only occur in very limited situations, where the taxpayer has about his or her person evidence relating to criminal proceedings concerning VAT.

Entry to Premises without consent

  • A search of a premises will only arise if prohibited, smuggled or illicit goods or documents relating to such items are believed to be present.
  • A search warrant may be required in relation to customs cases.
  • In certain limited circumstances Revenue may get a warrant to enter a residential premises.

Powers of Arrest

  • Revenue can only make an arrest where they suspect a criminal offence in relation to VAT committed by a person who is not established in the State.
  • Or is thought likely to leave the State.

Removal of Records

  • Whenever an officer removes records from a premises, he must give the taxpayer a list of the items taken, this list should be endorsed by the officer and the taxpayer, where feasible.
  • The officer should indicate when the records are likely to be returned.
  • If the tax payer requires the records for trading purposes he will be provided with copies, and have controlled access.
  • Records should be returned to the taxpayer as soon as possible.

Assistance from Taxpayer and other persons

Revenue officers will normally direct requests for reasonable assistance to:

  • the taxpayer


  • the person delegated by the taxpayer, these persons would include:
  • The company secretary, directors, senior executives or other person appointed to provide assistance, where the taxpayer is a company.
  • The taxpayer, where the taxpayer is not a company.
  • Employees of the taxpayer, with regard to the employee’s own emoluments and tax affairs, they can not question employees about directors or other business issues.

Please reach out if you have any queries regarding your rights in relation to Revenue, or indeed, if you require any tax advice.

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