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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

HM Revenue & Customs
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Dishonest tax agents: publishing details of tax agent dishonest conduct: Human Rights Act and Data Protection Act: Article 8 ECHR

Article 8(1) of the Convention gives a person the right to respect for

  • their private and family lives
  • their home, and
  • their correspondence.

This is sometimes called a “right to privacy”.

Privacy can extend to a person’s business activities and business premises.

For the purposes of the Human Rights Act “a person” includes companies, partnerships and other non-corporate organisations. These are sometimes referred to as “non-human” or “legal persons”. Human rights apply to “legal persons” through the individuals who are authorised to act on the behalf of the organisation.

Publishing the details of dishonest tax agents interferes with a person’s right to privacy but Article 8(2) specifically envisages that there will be some circumstances when it is necessary to do so. It sets out the steps that must apply before such an intrusion is lawful.

To be lawful, an intrusion into a person’s private life must be

  • in accordance with the law, and
  • necessary in a democratic society in the interests of the economic wellbeing of the country.

You can find the full text of Article 8 in Schedule 1 of the Human Rights Act 1998. You can access this from the HRA intranet site.

CH186300 explains why FA12/SCH38 is a lawful intrusion into a person’s private life.