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HMRC internal manual

Enquiry Manual

Information Powers: SA & CTSA Enquiry powers: Produce documents

This guidance only applies to information notices issued on or before 31 March 2009.

After 31 March 2009 you cannot issue notices under TMA70/S19A, FA98/SCH18/Para27, TMA70/SCH1A/Para6 or TMA70/S20. You must instead use the information powers in FA08/SCH36, see CH20000+.

The taxpayer can discharge their obligation if, within the time set out in the notice, they make available to HMRC the documents required by the notice. HMRC cannot insist on the documents being delivered to its office, or otherwise specify where the information should be produced.

This means that if the taxpayer makes a reasonable offer to produce the documents at their own or their agent’s premises, and actually does produce them by the date set out in the notice, they will have complied. Delivery of the documents within the time limit to another HMRC office will also amount to compliance with the notice.

It would not be reasonable for the taxpayer to fax HMRC’s office on the day on which the time limit on the notice expired to say that the documents were available for collection or inspection. If a taxpayer or agent offers to produce documents so close to the expiry of the time limit, or in such an unreasonable location, you may consider that the taxpayer has not effectively complied with the notice. Such a situation was considered in Johnson v Blackpool Commissioners and CIR. You should seek advice before taking any penalty action in such circumstances (see contact link).

If a company or agent produces or offers to produce documents or information from a computer in a form which you are unable to read contact the Audit Service Team (by telephone in urgent cases). See EM2801 for details.