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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Our Conduct and Behaviour: customer service to disabled people: how to help: changes in compliance process

Following the introduction of the Equality Act 2010 we have reviewed the procedures and guidance for all front line staff so that they

  • actively consider whether a person may have any disabilities, and
  • make any reasonable adjustments requested by the person

when delivering services to the public. This includes telephone checks, written checks and face to face meetings.

That review has prompted the following changes to the compliance process.

Prompting disclosure of any impairment

When carrying out any compliance check by phone, letter or face to face you must prompt early disclosure of any impairment. Letters issued advising the start of your check should include a prompt along the lines of:

  • If there is anything about your health or personal circumstances that may make it difficult for you to deal with this check, please let me know so that I can help you in the most appropriate way.

Factsheets will also include a similar prompt to disclose any impairment.

Authorisation procedure for friends or family representation

When a person mentions they have an impairment that affects their ability to manage their tax affairs you should ask whether they would like to be represented by another person or whether they would like someone to be present during a compliance check. This could be a friend or relative or it could be a tax agent.

You should clarify in what capacity the friend or family member is representing the person, for instance, are they going to

  • assist in communicating
  • provide support, or
  • answer questions regarding their tax affairs.

If you will be disclosing confidential taxpayer information to the friend or family member, you will require the person’s consent. This includes where you are asking them questions about the tax affairs of a person who has declared a mental impairment. See IDG30410 for more information on how consent can be given.

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Cases of doubt or difficulty

If, after following this guidance you need further advice or information then you should seek assistance from COPGU.