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HMRC internal manual

Claimant Compliance Manual

Working the examination: Meaning of

The terms “information or evidence” have their normal, every day meanings. Information, in particular, is potentially very wide: it may include not only items that already exist, but also those which you ask the claimant(s) to create.

Example: You may ask for a written explanation of the reasons for an ex-married couple still living in the marital home: this will be information. But if, to test the explanation that the couple had been unable to sell the home, you asked to see any correspondence with the estate agents, this would be evidence.

As a general rule, evidence will consist of documents that already exist, while information can include explanations, analyses etc. The statute does not allow the claimant to provide copies of evidence, so you can insist on original documents being provided, if appropriate.

Note that evidence does not have its common legal meaning of verbal evidence, i.e. you cannot require the claimant(s) to give evidence as if they were in a court of law. In practice there is no need to classify the details you require as either “information” or “evidence”, and you should avoid doing so.