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HMRC internal manual

Debt Management and Banking Manual

From
HM Revenue & Customs
Updated
, see all updates

Customer contact and data security: contact with third parties: outdoor calls: speaking to partner/spouse/relative/friend

When on a residential outdoor call - either to collect information or collect money - you should still observe the normal disclosure rules when speaking to anyone other than the customer. When you arrive at the premises you should ask for the customer by name before disclosing where you are from and the nature of the call. If you are asked where you are from then you should say HMRC. (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)  

Private residence - Customer present

If the customer is available you should always speak to them primarily and where possible in a private setting about their tax affairs.

If you are speaking to the customer in the presence of a partner, spouse, relative or friend, you should firstly check that it is okay to discuss the tax affairs of the customer in the presence of the third party. Occasionally the customer will ask you to discuss their tax affairs with the third party that is present, in these situations you should

  • verify the customer first - see DMBM512940
  • ask for the name of the third party and their relationship to the customer
  • confirm with the customer that it is okay to discuss their tax affairs with the third party and if there are any restrictions on what you can and cannot discuss
  • advise that you can take this verbal consent for this call only and if anything longer is required then the customer must write to the office giving permanent consent via a signed letter
  • make a note of the verbal consent and who you have dealt with.

Private residence - Customer is not present

Often you will make a call to a private residence and find that the customer is not home but the door is answered by a partner, spouse, relative, friend. If the customer is not home then you should say you are calling from HMRC and leave the appropriate letter, you should not disclose the nature of your call unless you need to do a levy (see below).

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)  (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)  DMBM511645.

There are certain exclusions to this rule in regards to levying, see DMBM655760.

If they want to set up a TTP, you should tell the third party that the customer must telephone in to the office themselves unless the third party meets the criteria set out in DMBM511645.