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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 financial persons

Generally speaking on outdoor calls you should always try and speak to the customer or have the customer present at all time this is because it’s their tax affairs and we want to settle the debt in this one visit wherever possible (whether that is through payment, TTP or levy).

Companies

Often when visiting companies about the debt you will find yourself being asked to speak to a financial person of the company. The exact title of this role differs from company to company sometimes they are called wages clerks, book keepers, Human Resources, accountants, cheque signatories, and so on but basically they deal with the financial affairs of the company. You should always ask to speak to a director, financial director, company secretary or company accountant, however its up to the company to decide how to structure their company and you may find that they consider their book keeper (for example) to be the company secretary or accountant.

Before discussing the companies debt and tax affairs with ones of these individuals you should either

  • Deem that they have the correct level of responsibility to deal with the company affairs and verify them correctly, see DMBM512880.
  • If in doubt, obtain prior verbal authority from one of the responsible people (director - managing or financial, company accountant, company secretary) to speak to them on this occasion. You should advise you will allow this but only for a one off conversation. If this authority needs to be permanent then you should ask that the responsible person send a signed written letter to the office.

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

Individuals

Generally the same rules apply if you are asked to speak to a financial person who deals with the tax affairs of an individual instead of the customer, for example

  • their accountant or book keeper or
  • spouse, partner, relative, friend and so on.

You must either

  • get verbal consent from the customer to discuss their tax affairs with the third party for this one off occasion, 
  • or you must determine if they have accurate authority on the record (written consent or 64-8).

If you are in any doubt that you can speak to the third party, you should telephone the support team who can check on the record for the suitable authority.

You should always make a note of

  • who you spoke to
  • their relationship with the customer
  • and what was discussed and decided.

(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.