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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Information Notices: The notice: Date by which information required

An information notice should specify a reasonable period within which the person must provide the information or the documents.

There is no minimum period. However, as the specified period must be reasonable it must take account of the nature of the information or documents required and how easy it will be for the person to provide or produce them.

Each notice should be judged on its own merits.

It might be reasonable to expect a person to comply with a notice to provide simple information or produce a readily available document within a fairly short period.

For example

You may be at business premises for the production of documents you required under an earlier information notice. These documents could indicate that there are other documents that you reasonably require to check the person’s tax position, but which do not fall within the descriptions in the existing notice. The person may produce these other documents voluntarily. But equally they may prefer to have a notice before producing them. You may issue the notice requiring production of the documents there and then. However, this does not guarantee you access to the documents. The person can still refuse to produce on the basis that they will appeal against the notice, see CH24300.

A person who needs to retrieve documents from archive storage and sift through them to find the required items, perhaps having to consider whether only parts of documents should be produced, might need far longer to complete the task.

The specified period will also need to take account of the time the notice and the information may spend in the post.

As a general rule of thumb, it might be reasonable to expect that most information or documents could be provided or produced within 30 days from the date of the notice but may need to be longer around a business’s seasonal peaks.

You should consider carefully any reasonable request the person makes for more time to comply with an information notice. Where appropriate you should extend the period to take account of any new or relevant factors. See also the guidance on “reasonable excuse” at CH26320.

FA08/SCH36/PARA7 (1)