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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Operational Guidance

Our Conduct and Behaviour: information disclosure and confidentiality: general

Staff undertaking compliance checks have access to a great deal of information about the personal affairs of customers.

You have an equal duty of confidentiality to those who you think are behaving legally and those who you think are not (including suspects and offenders).

Section 18 of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2005 (CRCA) makes it clear that staff must not give (‘disclose’) HMRC information to anyone, unless they have lawful authority to do so. This includes other government departments and their agencies, local authorities, the police or any other public bodies.

All new staff must sign a declaration of confidentiality upon entering the department, as stipulated in CRCA (section 3).

More detailed information on the Department’s policies on information disclosure and the legal responsibilities of individual officers is in the Information Disclosure Guide.