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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Dishonest tax agents: penalty for dishonest conduct: disclosure: giving access

Giving access includes a person responding reasonably promptly and accurately, taking into account their abilities and circumstances, to requests for information and documents and allowing access information and documents including

  • tax, accounts and audit working papers and files
  • clients’ source documents, link documents and any other documents or information used to prepare accounts and tax returns
  • communications with clients and others regarding clients’ affairs
  • any other files, documents and information relating to clients, and
  • time records, fees ledger accounts and fee notes.

Access is needed for you to make sure that the information disclosed is complete and may be more than simply complying with requests for information.

What is important is the timing, nature and extent of the access given.

  • The timing is relevant because a person should give access when requested and there should rarely be a need for us to issue reminders for our file access notices, see CH182500+. If it is not possible to produce the records or relevant documents at the time of the request the person should give reasons and make reasonable efforts to provide them as soon as reasonably possible.
  • The nature of the access is important. The person should offer access to their records and documents at a convenient and agreed location. If you require copies where possible these should be provided, otherwise we can take copies. If you encounter difficulties in getting access then this should be reflected in the quality of the disclosure.
  • The extent of the access given covers what records and documents are made available. Generally the tax agent would know what records and documents exist or can be obtained and it is for them to tell us. If records or documents that the person has within his or her power or possession are not offered, then this would be reflected in the quality of disclosure.

FA12/SCH38/PARA26 (3) - (7)