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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Opening and Working Enquiries: Working an enquiry - couples - confidentiality

As a couple will have made their claim jointly, they have, by implication, given consent to the Revenue to discuss the contents of the claim form with either party. “Contents of the claim form” means all the information on the form, relating to either or both of the customers. We can also disclose to either or both customers

  • any information relating to the claim, to an award, or to any change of circumstances relevant to the claim or the award
  • any communication made or received that relates to an award or a change of circumstances
  • any other information which appears to be relevant to the entitlement to tax credits, or to a change of circumstances.

Where you are making your enquiry because of SA changes which have implications for the tax credits entitlement, you may need to discuss with (or disclose to) one or both customers information which relates to the SA liability of the other person. If so, you must be careful only to discuss / disclose the results of the SA enquiry (i.e. the revised SA income figure) with or to the other person. You must not discuss / disclose the details of the SA enquiry (e.g. the reasons for the income being increased) with or to the other person. For example you can tell the customer that the SA enquiry established profits had been understated by £4,000 but you should not say this was because Sunday takings had been omitted from the accounts. You need to be particularly careful not to disclose personal details which were provided as part of the SA enquiry.