Research at HMRC

The HMRC research programme supports and provides evidence for how we make, and evaluate, our policies.

Research reports

Our research and analysis publications can be found at HMRC publications: research and analysis.

Working papers series

The working papers are occasional papers on analytical issues, produced by or on behalf of HMRC.

Research activities funded by HMRC

The document below sets out current research activities funded by HMRC’s programme of research:

Contact the research team

If you have any questions about the HMRC research and analysis programme, contact:

Research Enquiries
Bush House (South West Wing), Floor 4
Strand
London
WC2B 4RD

Email: research.enquiries@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk

The HMRC Datalab

The HMRC Datalab allows approved researchers to access anonymised HMRC data in a government accredited secure environment.

The aim of the Datalab is to produce high quality analysis that benefits both HMRC and the wider research community.

Datalab projects are not commissioned by HMRC.

Data protection policies and standards

The Datalab follows HMRC’s strict data protection policies. There are restrictions on working practices to safeguard taxpayer confidentiality. To become an ‘approved researcher’, institutions have to submit a proposal and complete a short training course.

The Datalab is governed by the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act (CRCA) 2005, which dictates who HMRC can allow to access their data and for what reasons.

Research proposals for the Datalab must serve one of HMRC’s functions under the CRCA 2005. See IDG47000 - Disclosure for the purposes of HMRC’s functions for further information.

Organisations who can apply to use the Datalab

Access to the Datalab is open to researchers from a UK academic institution or government department.

HMRC also considers applications from not for profit organisations, such as independent research bodies.

International researchers will need to be affiliated, employed by, or studying at a UK university, government department or research organisation.

Applying to use the HMRC Datalab

To apply to use the HMRC Datalab:

  1. download and complete the Datalab project proposal form: HMRC Datalab Project Proposal Application (ODT, 24.7KB)

  2. email the form to: HMRC Datalab

It’s important that your proposal shows how your research will be:

  • useful for HMRC
  • improved using HMRC data rather than other available sources

The Datalab Team will then advise you on your project, and may request more detailed information.

Proposals are then evaluated against these criteria:

  • contribution to HMRC functions
  • long-term benefit to HMRC
  • research design and likely impact of the research
  • feasibility of the research

HMRC is more likely to support projects that are relevant to contemporary research questions.

All research in the HMRC Datalab must be independent, with the results intended for publication.

It may be useful to see this list of approved research proposals to help you with your submission:

HMRC research proposals approved to date

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request a different format.

If you use assistive technology and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email different.format@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk. Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.

These are topics currently of interest to HMRC which we would like to see explored in the HMRC Datalab:

  • efficiency improvements within HMRC
  • compliance
  • data issues
  • tax policy

Application submission deadlines

Applications are assessed on a quarterly basis:

  • 15 December 2014, to be discussed on 16 January 2015
  • 3 March 2015, to be discussed on 20 March 2015
  • 13 June 2015, to be discussed on 10 July 2015

Available datasets

These are the datasets currently available in the HMRC Datalab.

Other HMRC datasets

You can submit a proposal requesting the use of datasets not listed above, if the information you need is currently not available in the Datalab. Please consult our data catalogue for further information on the data that HMRC holds:

HMRC Data Catalogue

Using and matching your own data

You will need to describe the data you would like to bring and the HMRC Datalab Team will consider each dataset on a case by case basis.

Key identifiers have been removed from the HMRC Datalab datasets as part of the de-identification process so matching will have to be undertaken by HMRC.

Contact the HMRC Datalab

If you have any questions about the Datalab please contact us.

Bush House (South West Wing)
Strand
London
WC2B 4RD

Email: HMRC Datalab