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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Penalties for Inaccuracies: Calculating the Penalty: Penalty reductions for quality of disclosure: Giving access

You must check the date from which these rules apply for the tax or duty you are dealing with. See CH81011 for full details.

Giving access includes a person responding positively to requests for information and documents and allowing access to

  • their business and other records
  • other relevant documents.

Access is needed for you to make sure that the inaccuracy or under-assessment is fully put right and is more than simply complying with requests for information.

What is important is the timing, nature and extent of the access given.

  • A person should give access when requested and there should rarely be a need for us to use information powers or issue reminders. If it is not possible to produce the records or relevant documents at the time of the request the person should give reasons and make every effort to provide them as soon as possible.
  • The person should offer access to their records and documents at a convenient and agreed location. If you require copies these should be provided. If you encounter difficulties in getting access then you should not give the full reduction.
  • The extent of the access given covers what records and documents are made available. It is the person who knows what records and documents exist or can be obtained and it is for them to tell us. If there are records or documents that are not offered then the full reduction is not due. However you should only seek access to records that are reasonably required for the purpose of ensuring that the document is corrected. The formal information powers in FA08/SCH36 allow you to seek access to records that are reasonably required for the purposes of checking a tax position, see CH20000 onwards.

This guidance applies equally to a disclosure made by another person (T) about false information they deliberately gave to a person (P) with the intention of making that P’s return inaccurate, or a disclosure about information they deliberately withheld, see CH81165.