Personal information charter

All information that HM Revenue and Customs holds is subject to our duty of confidentiality.

We know how important it is to protect customers’ privacy and to comply with the Data Protection Act (1998). As such, we will not give your information to anyone, including government departments and their agencies, local authorities, the police or any other public or private sector bodies, unless we have lawful authority to do so.

This information charter sets out the standards that you can expect from HM Revenue & Customs when we request or hold information about you during your dealings with us, so that we can provide better services for you. It also sets out how you can help us make sure the information we hold about you is accurate.

You can read more about what you can expect from us and what we expect from you in “Your Charter”.

Information we collect

We collect information about you to help us to:

  • collect tax, National Insurance contributions and Value Added Tax (VAT)
  • pay Tax Credits and Child Benefit
  • administer the National Minimum Wage
  • enforce import and export legislation

‘Open source’ material

HMRC may observe, monitor, record and retain internet data which is available to anyone. This is known as ‘open source’ material and includes news reports, internet sites, Companies House and Land registry records, blogs and social networking sites where no privacy settings have been applied.

How we use information we hold

We may use information we hold about you:

  • for one or more of our lawful functions
  • to check that your existing information is accurate
  • to compare it against other information to help combat fraud and crime
  • to verify an entitlement that you may have
  • to assist in the authentication of your identity

Information we may give to others

If the law allows, we may give information about you to:

  • other government departments and similar bodies
  • the police and law enforcement agencies
  • the courts, on production of a valid court order
  • foreign tax and customs authorities

Read more about data protection in HMRC and find out how you can request information we hold about you in our data protection factsheet.