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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Information Powers: Computerised Records: Records Received Beyond Those Requested

Computer records supplied by a taxpayer may contain records beyond those requested. In this respect they are no different to paper records. 

Records Relating To Another Period

As with paper records, the circumstances in which computer records for a period outside that of the enquiry are obtained can vary widely. At one extreme there will be records of no obvious relevance to the current enquiry, and which the taxpayer has specifically asked should not be reviewed. These may have been received because the taxpayer would find it difficult to delete information from files covering more than one period. At the other extreme, there will be records which are clearly relevant to the enquiry period, even though they are for another period, and which it has been clearly accepted will be reviewed.

Between these two extremes, there is a very wide variety of possible circumstances. Enquiry Officers should continue to exercise their judgement about the impact of the CTSA and ITSA enquiry legislation in this area, with the aim of always employing an approach which the Commissioners would find acceptable. The existence of IDEA history files EM2908 means that the Commissioners, or any body with an oversight or scrutiny role, will have full information about reviews carried out on computer records.

Records Containing Confidential Information

Files containing confidential information which has no relevance to tax liabilities may be inadvertently supplied. It may happen that you open such a file without realising what it contains. If any such file is opened, it should be closed as soon as it’s nature is apparent, and your Manager advised. Normally, the taxpayer or their adviser should be consulted as soon as it is discovered that information of this kind has been supplied, to arrange for the secure storage, return or destruction of the information.