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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: Identity unknown notice: General

Only an authorised officer, see CH21720, can give a written notice to a person requiring the person to provide information or produce a document reasonably required to check the tax position of

  • a person whose identity is not known to the officer, or
  • a class of persons whose individual identities are not known to the officer.

In addition to the restrictions, see CH22100, and rules, see CH23220, that apply to information notices generally, there are rules specific to identity unknown notices. Operational guidance about identity unknown notices starts at CH227000.

Only a limited number of authorised officers can issue identity unknown notices, see CH262500.

Approval
Appeals

Approval

The tribunal must approve the issue of all identity unknown notices. CH24200 gives details of the conditions that must be satisfied before the tribunal can give approval. Once the tribunal has given its approval, an authorised officer must give the notice. There is an example of a tribunal-approved identity unknown notice at CHApp1.8.

There are, however, exceptions to this approval rule. The tribunal does not need to approve the issue of an identity unknown notice to

  • a parent undertaking, to check the tax position of one or more subsidiary undertakings, see CH23940, or
  • a partner, for the purpose of checking the tax position of one or more other partners in their capacity as such, see CH23960, or
  • an involved third party in the period from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2012, requiring only relevant information or documents for the purpose of checking the tax position of a person or class of persons, see CH23980, or
  • any person, if the notice refers only to information or documents that relate to any pensions matter, see CH23990.

Appeals

The recipient of an identity unknown notice can appeal against the notice or any requirement in the notice, see CH24320. The only grounds of appeal are that it would be too much of a burden to comply with the notice or a requirement in the notice.

Again, there are exceptions to this rule. There are wider grounds of appeal where an identity unknown notice has been given to

  • a parent undertaking to check the tax position of one or more subsidiary undertakings, see CH23940, or
  • a partner, for the purpose of checking the tax position of one or more other partners in their capacity as such, see CH23960, or
  • an involved third party, in the period from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2012, requiring only relevant information or documents for the purpose of checking the tax position of a person or class of persons, see CH23980.
  • any person, if the notice refers only to information or documents that relate to any pensions matter, see CH23990.

FA08/SCH36/PARA5

FA08/SCH36/PARA31

FA08/SCH36/PARA34A

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