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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Information Notices: The notice: Complying with a notice

A person must comply with the requirements of a notice

  • within the period specified in the notice and,
  • if they are specified in the notice, at the time, by the means and in the form specified.

A person may comply with an information notice by producing a copy of a document instead of the original document, unless the notice specifically requires production of the original document. This is subject to any conditions or exceptions that may in future be set out in regulations.

If a person produces a copy of a 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 inadequate for the purpose of your check or there is doubt about its authenticity.

When a person produces a document (including a copy of an original document) you may take a copy or make extracts from it, see CH23300. ‘Make extracts’ from a document could include taking notes or copying parts of the document.

Rather than produce the documents specified in the notice the person may provide the information those documents contain, but in a different form. You will need to consider whether that information is sufficient for the purpose of your check.

For example, your notice may have required production of dividend vouchers but the person produces bank statements showing details of the dividends received. You may accept that the person has complied with that requirement of the notice if the information they provide is sufficient for the purpose of your check. Information is sufficient if the specified document would not contain any other information that you need to progress or conclude your check of the tax position.