• Access without notice

    In most cases, we will inform you if we intend to visit your premises to access your documents or information. However, in exceptional circumstances we do not give notice, including when we:

    • suspect tax evasion, fraud, secrecy or concealment
    • have a reasonable belief that documents may be disposed of, altered or destroyed.

    In these cases, we will have a reasonable belief that:

    • a cooperative approach will not work
    • relevant documents are held at the premises.

    If you are not present at your premises, we will:

    • try to contact you or your legal representative
    • consider proceeding with the access and quarantining of documents if you or your representative cannot be contacted
    • if necessary, allow you or your representative reasonable time to claim that our access to certain documents is restricted.

    If access without notice is being conducted at a third party’s private premises, we will:

    • contact the occupier or custodian of the records at those premises
    • consider undertaking the access and quarantining documents if the occupier or custodian is not present or cannot be contacted
    • if necessary, allow you or your representative reasonable time to claim that our access to certain documents is restricted.

    We may postpone our examination for a reasonable amount of time to enable you to consult with your representative. Our decision whether or not to postpone will be guided by real or perceived risks to the integrity of the documents of interest. Any delay allowed would rarely be more than a few hours. If we decide not to postpone our access without notice, we may attempt to reach an agreement with you about a suitable process to continue with our access.

    If you are the occupier of the premises we are accessing, we will provide you with:

    • a copy of the approval to take access without notice
    • a copy of the statutory provisions relevant to our access
    • information setting out your rights and obligations in relation to the access
    • reasonable time and opportunity to consult another person – for example, a legal adviser.

    Only designated senior officers can approve an access without notice.

    An explanation of how our access to documents may be restricted is provided under Limits to our formal powers.

    Recording an access without notice

    We may ask to make an audio recording of an access without notice, or some parts of the access. We will usually explain why we wish to make the recording and provide you with the opportunity to refuse consent, but may continue to record without it.

    If you provide consent, our recording usually includes:

    • our explanation of your rights and obligations in relation to the access visit
    • your questions and our responses to them.

    We will provide you with a copy of our recording, generally within seven calendar days of the conclusion of the access without notice.

      Last modified: 26 Jul 2016QC 37592