HMRC information powers
HMRC information powers

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

  • HMRC information powers
  • What are the purposes for which HMRC may use its information powers?
  • Information notices
  • Documents
  • Information
  • Information and documents excluded from information notices
  • Tribunal approval of information notices
  • Appeals
  • Penalties

FORTHCOMING CHANGE: HMRC is reviewing its Sch 36 information powers in light of changes in the way businesses work, and the increased number of requests for information HMRC is receiving from overseas tax authorities as a result of the Common Reporting Standard. Proposed changes include removing the requirement for tribunal or taxpayer approval before issuing a third-party notice, introducing a specific notice for requests for banking information, and extending the scope of daily penalties for non-compliance with an information notice. For more information, see News Analysis: Removing taxpayer safeguards from HMRC information powers.

HMRC's powers to check a person's tax position are in Schedule 36 to the Finance Act 2008.

The powers enable HMRC to:

  1. obtain documents and information, and

  2. inspect business premises

This Practice Note describes HMRC's powers to obtain documents and information, and the restrictions on those powers. The powers to inspect business premises are covered in Practice Note: HMRC inspection powers.

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

HMRC also has 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