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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Dishonest tax agents: file access notice: documents that cannot be requested: old documents

We cannot use a file access notice to require a document to be provided, where that document

  • originated before the ‘back stop day’, and
  • no part of the document has a bearing on tax periods ending on or after the ‘back stop day’.

The ‘back stop day’ is the first day of the 20 year period that ends on the day on which the file access notice is given.


We issue a file access notice on 22 November 2013. This date becomes the last day of the 20 year period.

The ‘back-stop day’ is 23 November 1993.

This means that the person does not have to provide any documents where

* the whole of that document originated before 23 November 1993, and
* no part of that document has a bearing on tax periods ending or after 23 November 1993.

We can issue a file access notice after 1 April 2013 requesting documents that existed before 1 April 2013. Although we can request these earlier documents, we cannot use them to determine the amount of penalty for dishonest conduct.

We would request them to enable us to consider the tax position of clients, and provide grounds for any necessary assessment on those clients. The information will also indicate the extent of dishonest conduct and fresh evidence may influence our decision to prosecute.