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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Discrepancy Examinations and Enquiries: Information: Joint claims: Confidentiality

As couples make their claim jointly they have, by implication, given consent to HMRC to discuss the contents of their claim form with either party. This means we can discuss all the information on the form with either or both claimants even if the information relates to the other claimant.

We can also disclose to either or both claimants:

  • any information relating to the claim, to an award, or to a 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 looking into changes in SA income which have implications for the tax credits entitlement, you may need to discuss with or disclose to one or both claimants information which relates to the SA liability of the other person.

If the changes arise because of an SA enquiry, you must be careful only to discuss or disclose the results of that enquiry (i.e. the revised SA income figure) with or to the other claimant. You must not discuss or disclose the details of the SA enquiry (e.g. the reasons why the income was increased) with or to the other claimant.