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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: data-gathering powers: discussions with the data-holder

Complying with a data-holder notice may be onerous, therefore before issuing a notice it is important to discuss with the data-holder the proposed notice to try and address any issues. Failure to do (or at least attempt to do) so may result in appeals to the Tribunal on the basis the notice was onerous.

Typical issues which may be addressed

Type of data held - The way in which a data-holder records data can influence both the wording of the data request, and how they can best supply data.

Resources of the data-holder - Data-holders vary from large multi national institutions with specific departments, to small enterprises with no specific data resource, to enterprises which sub contract their data storage and handling. This should be taken into account when discussing a timetable for the production of data.

Time period of data request - You should carefully consider the time period for which you are requesting data. You should be able to explain the necessity of the time period. Although the statutory limit is data for chargeable periods ending 4 years prior to the date of the notice, you should consider if this is necessary. You should also factor in the time from the notice before realistically compliance checks can be undertaken and the correlation with normal time limits for assessments.

Future data requests - if it is likely that requests will be made again for the same data in the future, you should discuss how we can help the data-holder retain and supply the information in the most cost effective way.