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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Conditions and safeguards: Human Rights Act: Article 8 - reasonable and proportionate

Any planned activity that intrudes upon a person’s privacy must be reasonable and proportionate to the underlying need if it is to comply with the conditions of Article 8(2).

What is reasonable and proportionate in any particular circumstances is a matter of judgement.

Most of the activities that HMRC undertakes interfere with a person’s rights of privacy to a relatively low extent. However, every case must be considered on its merits. What is proportionate in one case may be excessive in another.

To assess proportionality you must consider

  • the nature and degree of the interference
  • whether that interference is reasonable in the circumstances, and
  • whether the information can be obtained in a less intrusive manner.

The greater the interference, the more justification is needed. CH21380 provides guidance on how to decide whether the interference is proportionate.