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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Conditions and safeguards: Restrictions: Auditors' papers

As a general rule, an auditor cannot be required to provide information or produce documents that belong to the auditor if they were created for the purpose of carrying out the audit.

The legislation refers to an auditor appointed under a statutory provision, for example the Companies Act, Building Societies Act, and so on.

However, you should not require audit information or papers from a person who was appointed to carry out a non-statutory, independent audit to standards

  • similar to those required for a Companies Act audit, or
  • laid down by the client’s professional body,

provided that the work on the audit is kept separate from any work on the preparation of the accounts.

There are circumstances where an auditor can be required to provide information or produce documents that would otherwise be protected. Details are at CH22340.

Audit papers in the hands of anyone other than the auditor who created them are within the scope of information and inspection powers.