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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Information Powers: TMA70/S20: Serving Informal Notices

Because of the confidential nature of the relationship between banks and their customers, documents will not be produced without a formal notice. Nevertheless, an informal request must still be made by the Inspector.

Both informal requests and formal notices should be sent to the Head Office of the bank concerned, EM10127. The Head Office of the bank will then advise the branch manager how to respond. A statement from the bank to the effect that it does not have the required documents is a sufficient answer to either an informal request or to a formal notice.

When an informal request is sent to a bank, the form of words used should be on the lines of the specimen provided in EM10131.

Notices must be confined to requests for documents from a particular branch of the bank and must not be of a general nature aimed at finding out whether the taxpayer has an account at any branch of a particular bank. The branch should be identified on a formal notice by adding after the list of documents `held by your ………… Branch’.

A minimum period of 30 days between receipt of the informal request and a formal notice should be the normal rule.