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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Human Rights Act 1998 (HRA): Article 8: Information gathering

Section 3 of the Human Rights Act 1998 requires that, so far as it is possible to do so, all legislation must be given effect in a way that is compatible with convention rights.

This means that you must take account of all the convention rights in all aspects of your job.

Most of our information powers contain statutory safeguards.

  • Information or documents must be ‘reasonably required to check a tax position’ (FA2008/Sch 36), see CH21500.
  • There is a right of appeal against most information notices and /or the requirements in them, see CH24300+.
  • Where appropriate the tribunal must be satisfied that HMRC is justified in proceeding in ‘all the circumstances’ (FA2008/Sch 36/Para 3(3)(b)), see CH24000+.

It is therefore crucial (especially when seeking sensitive information) that you consider and record why you consider the conditions of Article 8(2) are satisfied, before asking for information that may interfere with a person’s rights of privacy.

A common error is to assume that only people have rights of privacy.

‘Person’ is not restricted to individuals and in the case of Amman v Switzerland the European Courts of Human Rights found that ‘private information’ should be interpreted broadly. It includes not only information about a person’s private or family life or personal relationships but also activities of a professional nature.

For Example: Information about the way that a business is operated should be treated as private information for Article 8 purposes.