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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Data gathering powers: Details of powers: Overview

Data-gathering powers enable us to collect data about third parties from data-holders to use in our compliance activities.

The legislation identifies categories of data-holder and the type of data we can request from each data-holder.

We request the data by issuing a data-holder notice to the data-holder.

Data gathering powers are used in one of two ways.

  • An individual officer can use the data gathering powers when enquiring into people who received payments from a single entity.
  • An HMRC national team, such as the Centre for National Information (CNI), can require information from a range of data-holders across the country about all of a particular class of people. For example, all farmers getting payments from the Rural Payment Agency.

We have powers to copy and retain documents in certain circumstances.

You cannot use the data-gathering powers to ask for information on the tax position of the data-holder. The powers in Schedule 36 FA 2008 (CH20000+) are available for that purpose.