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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

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HM Revenue & Customs
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Information & Inspection Powers: Information Notices: Third party notice: Specific rules

You can give a written notice to a person requiring them to provide information or produce documents reasonably required to check the tax position of another person whose identity you know. This is a ‘third party notice’.

You should try, wherever it is possible and practical to do so, to get the information or documents you need from the person whose tax position you are checking before approaching another person for them.

Wherever it is reasonable to assume that the information or documents are within the power of the person to provide, you should normally seek them from that person. If necessary you should issue a taxpayer notice and take penalty action if they do not comply. Only if that approach fails should you consider approaching a third party for the information or documents.

There may, however, be factors which make an approach to the person whose affairs you are checking inappropriate. For example, the information or documents are not in their power to provide or you need to verify facts independently.

In addition to the general restrictions, see CH22100, and general rules, see CH23220, that apply to information notices, there are rules specific to third party notices.

Operational guidance about third party notices starts at CH225000.

Deceased Persons
Approval
Identity
Appeals
Partnerships
Groups of undertakings
Involved third parties
Pensions matters

Deceased Persons

You cannot give a notice for checking the tax position of a dead person more than 4 years after the person’s death.

Approval

You cannot issue a third party notice unless you have obtained the approval of

  • the person whose tax position is being checked (but see CH23810 if the notice is to a bank), or
  • the tribunal, see CH24160.

You do not need any approval for giving a third party notice that

  • refers only to any person’s statutory records, see CH21700, relating to

    • the supply of goods or services,
    • the acquisition of goods from an EU member state, or
    • the importation of goods from outside the EU in the course of carrying on a business,
  • is given to a partner to check the tax position of other partners in their capacity as such, see Partnerships below, or
  • is given to a parent undertaking to check the tax position of more than one subsidiary undertaking, see CH23740.

Identity

You must know the identity of the person whose tax affairs are being checked.

The third party notice must name the person whose tax position is being checked, unless the tribunal approved the notice and was satisfied that it should not, see CH24160.

Appeals

A person receiving a third party notice approved by the other, named, person can appeal against the notice or any requirement in the notice, see CH24320. The only ground of appeal is that it would be unduly onerous to comply with the notice or a requirement in the notice.

There is no right of appeal against

  • a requirement to provide information or produce any document that is part of the named person’s statutory records, see CH21700,
  • a notice that requires only statutory records information or documents, see CH21700, of any person relating to

    • the supply of goods or services,
    • the acquisition of goods from an EU member state, or
    • the importation of goods from outside the EU in the course of carrying on a business.

Partnerships

There are separate specific rules for partnerships, see CH23670+.

Groups of undertakings

There are some special rules that apply in certain circumstances for groups of undertakings. The detail is in CH23730+.

Involved third parties

There are some special rules for third party notices to involved third parties relating to the period from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2012, see CH23820.

Pensions matters

There are also special rules for third party notices that refer only to information or documents relating to a pensions matter, see CH23840.

Appendix 1 contains examples of

  • a summary of reasons letter to the person - CHApp1.4
  • an opportunity letter to the person who is to receive a notice - CHApp1.5
  • a taxpayer-approved notice - CHApp1.6
  • a tribunal-approved notice - CHApp1.7.

FA08/SCH36/PARA2 - 4

FA08/SCH36/PARA22

FA08/SCH36/PARA30

FA08/SCH36/PARA34

FA08/SCH36/PARA34B

FA08/SCH36/PARA37