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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: data-gathering powers: introduction

Para 1 of Schedule 23 to the Finance Act 2011 gives HMRC officers the powers to obtain data from relevant data-holders. These powers come into force on 1 April 2012, and apply to relevant data even if the data relates to periods before that date.

The data-gathering powers modernise and simplify the information gathering powers.

These are different from and additional to the information and inspection powers, see CH212000.

The data-gathering powers are information powers to be generally utilised for gathering specific pieces of information about a group of taxpayers, for use in risk analysis.

The information may be sought for any of the taxes listed in CH28120. This includes foreign tax so that the UK can meet its international obligations to exchange information.

Safeguards have been built into the legislation and our procedures to ensure that the data-gathering request in the ‘data-gathering’ notice is reasonably required by the issuing officer

  • for the purpose of collecting data from a data-holder that is relevant to the compliance checks, and
  • only requesting information from the relevant data-holders, see CH206380

Data-holder notices can only be issued

  • if the Centres of National Information (CNI) has not already issued notices for the relevant data, or
  • with the agreement of an appropriate officer, (an appropriate officer is also an authorised officer for purposes under Schedule 36 FA 2008) and
  • with the approval of the tribunal (but only where the application is made by or with agreement of an authorised officer).