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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

How to do a compliance check: information powers: rules that apply to all notices: resolving disputes about legal professional privilege: process when a notice is given in correspondence: examining and responding to the list of documents

As soon as you receive a list of documents that the person claims are privileged you should identify which documents you

  • accept are privileged and
  • think may not be privileged.

If the list contains items that you do not need to complete your compliance check, even though you think they are not privileged, you can tell them that they need not be provided.

You should contact (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) (TAA) for advice about those items you think are not privileged, unless an HMRC solicitor is already involved in your check, in which case you should refer to the solicitor for advice.

If the list does not describe the nature and content of each document in sufficient detail for you to judge whether the document is privileged, or whether you need to see it, then you should seek advice from TAA, or the HMRC solicitor involved in your check.

If TAA, or the solicitor, agree that certain items may not be privileged you must advise the person of the items you want to see within 20 working days, see CH230400, of service of their list. You should

  • explain why you think the document in question is not privileged
  • tell the person that they must send the document to you unless they disagree with your view and
  • set out the process which will be followed if they want the tribunal to decide whether and to what extent the items are privileged.

A sample letter for you to do this is at CH230240.