HMRC information powers

The following Tax practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • HMRC information powers
  • The purposes for which HMRC may use its information powers
  • Relevant foreign tax
  • Reasonably required
  • Information notices
  • Taxpayer notice
  • Restrictions on HMRC’s powers to issue taxpayer notices
  • Third-party notice
  • Financial institution notice (FIN)
  • Identity unknown notice
  • More...

HMRC information powers

This Practice Note is about HMRC's powers to obtain documents and information in order to check a person’s tax position or collect a tax debt, and the restrictions on those powers.

Revenue Scotland and the Welsh Revenue Authority have equivalent information powers in relation to the devolved taxes.

HMRC also has powers to inspect business premises in order to check a person’s tax position. These powers are covered in Practice Note: HMRC inspection powers.

HMRC has additional powers to collect data from third-party data-holders, and these are described in Practice Note: HMRC data-gathering powers.

Wider-reaching powers are available to HMRC where fraud is suspected. For more details, see Practice Note: HMRC criminal investigations and dawn raids.

HMRC may also exercise information powers in its anti-money laundering capacity. For more details, see Checklist: HMRC guidance under the Money Laundering Regulations 2017.

The powers described in this Practice Note are provided by legislation. HMRC is also entitled to invite taxpayers to provide information voluntarily, outside the scope of its statutory powers, so long as it is made clear to taxpayers that they are under no legal obligation to provide that information. HMRC may rely on any information that is volunteered in this way. If HMRC attempts this approach but the taxpayer is unwilling to cooperate, it may then use its statutory powers.

The purposes for which HMRC may use its information

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