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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Information & Inspection Powers: Overview: Information Notices

We can require any person to provide us with information and/or to produce documents by way of a written notice called an information notice. However, we can’t require certain classes of documents, see CH22000.

We must allow the person a reasonable period of time to produce the information or documents. The length of this period will depend upon several things including the type and amount of information we have asked for.

In some circumstances assessing time limits and other constraints may mean that we will not issue an information notice.

The person receiving the information notice may appeal against it unless

  • the notice is to produce the statutory records, CH21700, which the person is obliged to keep, or
  • the tribunal approved the issue of the notice.

We may charge a monetary penalty, see CH26000, where

  • we have issued an information notice and the information and/or documents are not produced, or
  • documents that we have required or requested are concealed or destroyed, or
  • a person, in complying with the information notice, carelessly or deliberately provides inaccurate information or produces a document containing an inaccuracy.

There will not be a penalty if the person has a reasonable excuse, see CH26300, for the failure to provide information and/or produce documents.

There is a right of appeal against any penalties we impose, see CH26900.

It is a criminal offence to conceal or destroy documents, see CH27200, where

  • they are, or may be, required by an information notice, and
  • the tribunal approved the issue of that information notice.

Detailed technical guidance on information notices starts at CH23000. Operational guidance starts at CH220000.