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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: information powers: rules that apply to all notices: requiring original documents

If a person produces a copy of a document and you have a reason to need access to the original document, you can make a written request to the person to produce the original document. The request can specify

  • a reasonable period within which the original should be produced, and
  • a reasonable time at which it should be produced, and
  • by whatever reasonable means the original should be produced.

You should not routinely request original documents if you have been supplied with a copy. However, it may be appropriate to request the original document, for example, where detail on the copy is unclear, incomplete or there is doubt about its authenticity.

It may be impractical for a person or third party to produce an original electronic document for some storage types, for example an internal hard drive, and a copy of the information may be produced instead.

If you encounter any difficulty with a request or requirement for the production of an original electronic document or copy, you should contact a Data Handling Specialist or an LBS Audit Specialist, who specialise in such matters.