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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Information Notices: The notice: Copying or removing documents

When a document is produced to you or you inspect it you can

  • take a copy of it,
  • make an extract from it, or
  • remove it.


The person the document belongs to does not have to allow you to use their copying facilities. If they have no objection to using their copying facilities, it is often the simplest approach to ask them to copy the document for you. Wherever possible, copying arrangements should be agreed in advance.

Where you have not been able to make copying arrangements in advance, you will need to consider how you are going to take copies if necessary. It may be possible to take suitable copying equipment with you, but a more practical solution may be to remove the documents you wish to copy - see below - copy them at the office and return them.


Making an extract means copying only part of a document or recording the information in the document onto other media.


You can only remove a document

  • where it is necessary to do so, and
  • at a reasonable time.

You can only keep the document for a reasonable period. This is the minimum period needed for you to complete the tasks for which it was removed.

If you remove a document you must give a written receipt if you are asked to do so. It is good practice to give a receipt whether or not you are asked. If the document is reasonably required by the person the document belongs to, you must also give them a copy of it without charge. Where a notice applies only to part of a document because of the application of a restriction, see CH22100, removing the document could compromise that restriction. However, you may make an extract of the relevant part(s), or copy the whole document with the restricted part covered up.

FA08/SCH36/PARA15 & 16