Revenue make the point that an enquiry into a taxpayer’s affairs is not the same as an audit, although from the taxpayer’s point of view there is often little difference other than that he is denied the ability to make a voluntary disclosure prior to the commencement of the enquiry.
Depending on the nature of what is being enquired into, the matter may be more serious that an audit. If for example, Revenue have evidence of an undisclosed offshore account, or undisclosed sources of income, they may initiate an enquiry with a view to gathering evidence for prosecution. This may involve seizure of records, computers and documentation.
At the other end of the scale, Revenue may use their powers of enquiry simply to cross-check a (sales) transaction in one trader’s records against the equivalent (purchases) transaction in the customer’s records.