RSTP2024 - Business run from home

RSTPA guidance on an inspection involving a business which is run from a person’s home.

There are several ways in which your home can fall within the definition of business premises (see RSTP2035):

  • the business may be run entirely from your home;
  • the work of the business may be carried on both at your home and at other premises;
  • the business may be run from other business premises but you keep the business records at your home; or
  • the business may be run from other business premises, but you occasionally write up some records at home and keep the business records at home.

Any business that includes in its accounts expenses for ‘use of home as office’ will be regarded as using the home at least partly as business premises.

Similarly, if a person’s home is registered as the principal place of business for VAT it is a reasonable assumption that the home is being used at least partly as business premises.

On the other hand, we will not normally regard an employee’s home as ‘business premises’ if they occasionally use it to do work that is usually done in an office or other business premises.

Carrying out an inspection at a person’s home

The business premises definition allows us the right to enter any home used in connection with the carrying on of a business (but we do not have the right to enter or inspect any part of premises used solely as a dwelling). However, it is essential that this right is exercised with care and consideration. You are entitled to privacy and can refuse to let us (or a person authorised by us) to enter your home or premises (see RSTP2027).

We will normally wish to see business assets or documents at the premises where the business is carried on. We will normally seek to avoid inspecting premises that are also your home. We will normally be able to find an alternative location such as at an agent’s premises or a Revenue Scotland office to do this. We will however carry out the inspection at your home if you request this, unless it would otherwise defeat the purpose of the check.

Where the business premises do not form part of your home, you might invite or request that we inspect records or documents at your home because, for example, this is where business assets or documents are stored and there is less chance of losing the records or documents by having to move them to another location. If we accept the invitation we must not enter other parts of the house, such as bedrooms, unless it is necessary to pass through them to get to the assets or documents to be inspected. We will also clearly explain to you that this decision is voluntary.

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.
Ref ID: 
RSTP2024
Archive Date: 
13 March 2015
Last updated: 
13 March 2015
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