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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Information notices: Identification notice: General

Only an authorised officer, see CH21720, can give a written notice to a third party requiring them to provide ‘relevant information’ that is reasonably required to check the tax position of a person or class of persons

  • whose identity is not known to the officer, but
  • where the authorised officer holds information that enables the person’s identity to be ascertained.

Note that an identification notice only enables the authorised officer to require relevant information to be provided, not documents.

Relevant information is the name, address and date of birth (if known) of the person whose identity can be ascertained.

Holding ‘information that will enable the person’s identity to be ascertained’ means that we hold some information from which somebody else can tell us the identity of the person. For example, we may hold a credit card number, from which the credit card company can provide us with the relevant information.

In addition to the restrictions, see CH22100, and rules, see CH23220, that apply to information notices generally, there are conditions specific to identification notices, see CH23995.

To be able to issue an identification notice the authorised officer must

  • know which tax is the subject of the tax position being enquired into, as an identification notice only applies to certain tax positions, see CH21540, and
  • not be able to readily ascertain the person’s identity from other information held by the officer,

and they must believe that

  • the third party will be able to ascertain the person’s identity from the information the officer can provide, and
  • the third party obtained the relevant information about the person in the course of carrying on a business.

The officer need not reveal all the information they hold about the person they are trying to identify. But they might have to if they only have very little information, for example just a credit card number.

See CH227500 for operational guidance on identification notices. If you wish to issue an identification notice to obtain the identity of more than one person, or a class of persons, you must refer the case to Tax Administration, Litigation and Advice (TALA) before you issue the notice.


The approval of the tribunal is not required for us to issue an identification notice, see CH23080.


The recipient of an identification notice can appeal against the notice or any requirement in the notice, see CH24410. 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.