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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: information powers: excise information notice: restrictions on what you can ask for

We can only require documents that are in a person’s possession or power, see CH22120.

There are some restrictions on the types of documents we can require even if they would otherwise be reasonably required for the purpose of protecting, securing, collecting or managing excise duties, see CH228300, and they are in the person’s possession or power.

An information notice does not require a person to provide

  • Tax and duty appeal material, see CH22160 
  • Personal records, see CH22180 
  • Journalistic material, see CH22220 
  • Privileged information and documents, see CH22240.

There are also restrictions about asking for

  • Documents created entirely more than six years ago, see CH22140 
  • Audit papers, see CH22280 
  • Tax advisers’ papers, see CH22300.

In addition, where you intend to issue a notice to

  • a lawyer, see CH229200 
  • Communications Service Providers, see CH229120 
  • a person’s spouse or partner, see CH207315 
  • a bank, see CH232000 
  • an accountant for their working papers, see CH231000.