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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Information Notices: The notice: Meaning of 'produce documents'

You may issue a written notice that requires a person to produce a document.

‘Produce’ means “to bring something out from somewhere and show it”. So the document must exist when the notice is given to the person.

Sending it to you is not the only way to produce a document; you and the person may instead agree a time and place to examine it. But they do have to show it to you and give you the opportunity to examine it.

You are entitled to take a copy or make an extract from the document and, if necessary, you can remove the document and retain it for a reasonable period, see CH23300. This means that a brief showing of the document to you, without giving you the opportunity to take a copy of it or remove it if you wish to, will not be sufficient to meet the requirements of the notice.

Any copying you do must be at the department’s expense, not the expense of the person to whom the notice has been given.

You may request production of a document that is covered by a lien. A lien is a right to retain someone else’s property until a debt is paid. Producing the document to you does not affect the lien.