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HMRC internal manual

Child Benefit Technical Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Failure to disclose: The legal duty to disclose (general)

Child Benefit and Guardian’s Allowance (Administration) Regulations 2003, regulation 23(2), (3) and (4)

When an award of child benefit or guardian’s allowance is made, Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs can ask claimants to notify any changes in their circumstances that may effect the continuing entitlement to that award or payment of it. This means that every person and every beneficiary who or on whose behalf, sums of benefit are receivable has a legal duty to notify information or evidence in the manner and at the time that Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs have told them to do so. This includes claimants, appointees (appointed by either Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, or a Court), guardians etc. The instruction may be contained in information leaflets, letters or notes issued with payments. Provided that the claimant or person receiving the payment has been instructed to disclose a particular fact, an omission to do so will be a breach of their duty to disclose.

The legislation also places the claimant under a duty to disclose any change of circumstances which they might reasonably be expected to know might affect

  • the continuing entitlement to benefit; or
  • the payment of benefit


as soon as reasonably practicable after the change occurs by giving notice of the change to the appropriate office in the appropriate manner.