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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Data gathering: Details of power: Data-holder notice: Compliance with a notice

The data-holder notice may specify the ‘means and form’ in which the data-holder must provide the relevant data, providing that the means and form are reasonable.

‘Means and form’ includes being able to stipulate the structure and medium through which data is required; so long as our request is reasonable.

If the data-holder notice requires the data-holder to

  • send the relevant data somewhere, then the data-holder must send it to that address, and within the period we have specified in the notice, or
  • make documents available for inspection somewhere, then the data-holder must make those documents available for inspection at such place and time as is

    • reasonably specified in the notice, or
    • agreed between the officer and data-holder.

The period for the data-holder to provide the relevant data, or to make the documents available, must be reasonable. What is considered reasonable depends on the ability and circumstances of the data-holder. We cannot require a data-holder to provide documents for inspection at a place that is used solely as a dwelling.

The data-holder notice can only require the data-holder to provide documents that are in the data-holder’s possession or power.

Our ability to specify the means and form, and how the data is provided, in the data-holder notice includes a power to specify it in a document referred to in the data-holder notice.

Some machinery provisions of TMA, for example about the service of documents, apply to these data-gathering powers.