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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: conditions and safeguards: restrictions: legal professional privilege: wording of informal requests

Where you are asking for documents or information that may include privileged items and are not at the stage of issuing an information notice, the letter setting out your informal request must contain a section along the following lines.

“I cannot insist that you have to give me documents or information for which you can successfully claim legal professional privilege but you can choose to waive privilege. It may assist progress of the tax position check if you do but you would be giving up your right to keep the information or documents private.

Legal professional privilege is a complex area of the law that only properly applies in limited circumstances. I may wish to challenge any claim to legal professional privilege on the basis that I disagree that the documents or information being withheld properly fall within the scope of the privilege.

If you decide not to give me documents or information because you believe legal professional privilege attaches to them, please tell me.”

If you receive a claim that privilege applies and you want advice before accepting that you cannot have the privileged material, contact Central Policy, Tax Administration Advice. If a dispute then arises over whether there is privileged material that can be withheld, see the guidance at CH22254.