Commentary

A6.409 Types of information used by HMRC, and requested by an information notice

Administration and compliance

A6.409 Types of information used by HMRC, and requested by an information notice

Conduct of a self assessment enquiry

A6.409 Types of information used by HMRC, and requested by an information notice

HMRC will use the information available to it to check a tax position. In an aspect enquiry HMRC will seek only to check the matter into which it is enquiring. A full enquiry will involve an examination of the taxpayer's tax position in its entirety for the tax year or accounting period in question (see A6.402). HMRC will issue an information notice to ask for information or documents from the taxpayer to assist in the enquiry (see A6.405). However HMRC does not limit it enquiry to the documents etc provided.

Use of open source information in an enquiry

HMRC does not restrict its investigations to information requested through the issue of an information notice. Internet research is also used by HMRC for checking a tax position1. Open source research includes the collection, evaluation and analysis of material published on the internet for the purposes of both risk analysis and for compliance. The information gathered in this way must be reasonable and proportionate to the purpose of the research although what is considered to be such is a matter of judgement2. A person's right to privacy must be balanced with the need to collect data and HMRC officers are advised to record their justification for such research (see also Division A2.3 for more on human rights)3.

Social media accounts for businesses can be accessed by HMRC. Similarly social media accounts can be used

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