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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: information powers: rules that apply to all notices: issues in specifying information or documents in a notice

An assurance has been given in Parliament that information powers will not be used for fishing expeditions (speculative enquiries). In addition, quite apart from the express statutory restrictions which wide descriptions might infringe, a FA08/Sch36 notice may be found to be invalid if its requirements are unreasonably burdensome. For this reason, you must think carefully about the scope of any descriptions you use in the notice.

You may find it difficult to find the appropriate description for the information or documents you require, particularly if you need to approach a bank. There is nothing to stop you calling and asking how to best narrow down the description in the notice.

You should seek advice from (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) , via your line manager, if you have any difficulty in formulating a suitable description of the information or documents that you require.