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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Information Notices: Tribunal approval: Identity Unknown Notice

Notices could only be used to ‘involved third parties’ in the period from 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2012. The data-gathering powers are used for information notices issued on or after 1 April 2012, see CH28000.

An authorised officer, see CH21720, must always ask the tribunal to approve an identity unknown notice unless

  • the notice is given to a parent undertaking to check the tax position of one or more subsidiary undertakings, see CH23740, or
  • the notice is given to a partner for the purpose of checking the tax position of one or more other partners, see CH23700 
  • the notice is given to an involved third party and refers only to relevant documents regarding a relevant tax, see CH23980 
  • the notice is given to any person and seeks only information and documents relating to a pensions matter, see CH23990.

Applications for approval may be made ‘without notice’. This means that any person affected is not told about it.

Where the tribunal gives approval, the Notice must say so.

The tribunal may not approve an identity unknown notice unless

  • the authorised officer does not know the identity of the person or the individual identities of a class of persons, and
  • it is reasonable to think those persons may not have complied or may not comply with a tax provision, and
  • not complying with the tax provision is likely to seriously prejudice, CH24240, the assessment or collection of tax, CH24220, and
  • the authorised officer can not readily get the information or document from anywhere else.

FA08/SCH36/PARA5 (3), (3A), (4) & (5)

FA08/SCH36/PARA35 (6)