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HMRC internal manual

Decisions and appeals for National Insurance Contributions and Statutory Payments

Confidentiality: More than one person named in a decision: Action required to preserve confidentiality

DANSP48100 explains that you are under a strict legal duty to maintain the confidentiality of information. The examples below illustrate action to take to preserve confidentiality.

Example 1 - Illustrates what you must not tell an employee named in a decision

You conduct a review of the employer’s PAYE and National Insurance contributions (NIC) records and establish some irregularities. The employer will not accept NIC liability on certain payments made for the benefit of one of its employees. You issue a NIC liability decision to the employer and name the employee in the decision. In the explanatory letter issued with the notice of decision to the employee, do not tell the employee that you discovered the irregularity when HMRC examined the employer’s records.

The employer is usually liable to pay any unpaid primary and secondary Class 1 NIC. Where you know that liability for paying any unpaid primary NIC is not to be transferred from the employer to the employee, see NIM12127, you can tell the employee that HMRC will not request any unpaid NIC from them. Do not tell the employee that we will recover unpaid NIC from the employer.

Example 2 - Illustrates what you must not tell an employer named in a decision

Where a statutory payment decision is made on the basis of medical evidence supplied by a doctor, ensure that it is only released to the employer with the employee’s consent and that ‘potentially harmful medical evidence’ is not released to the employee or employer. An example of such evidence would be a diagnosis of a terminal illness where the employee may not have been told.

Example 3 - Illustrates when you would be required to issue separate decisions in respect of each person named

Where a decision involves more than one employee and confidential information is included, give separate decisions in respect of each employee involved. For example,

* where two directors each have their home telephone bills paid, as you may not know what each director knows about each other,
* where more than one worker is affected by an employment status decision and those workers must be named.