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HMRC internal manual

Information Disclosure Guide

Confidentiality when dealing with the customer: disclosure to agents, representatives and third parties: protecting deceased customers: disclosure to non-personal representatives

If the enquirer is not the personal representative you must not disclose any confidential information held about the deceased to that person, irrespective of their relationship with the deceased.

Dealing with an agent appointed by the personal representative

You cannot disclose to a person other than the personal representative unless you have the express written consent of the personal representative to do so.

The exception to this rule is where you may need to disclose confidential information about the affairs of the deceased to a personal representative (or someone authorised by them) where it is necessary to enable the tax and National Insurance affairs of the deceased to be settled. In this guidance the term ‘personal representative’ is used to encompass both executors and administrators.

This rule applies equally to spouses and civil partners of the deceased, other close family, professional agents, the courts and coroners, and the police as it does to any other person. To obtain consent the individual must follow the process outlined at IDG30210.

Former agents and agent not appointed by the personal representative

If an agent or other person was acting on behalf of the deceased prior to their death, for example with the customer’s consent (such as a form 64-8) or through a power of attorney, you may no longer disclose confidential information to these third parties. If the personal representative wants these third parties to continue to act they must authorise HMRC to disclose with a new fresh form 64-8 or other letter of consent. See IDG30210 for guidance on consent.

Power of attorneys

It is possible that rather than take personal responsibility for dealing with the estate’s affairs, the personal representative may use a power of attorney to appoint a third party to undertake this work.

Provided you have seen the original or certified copy of the power of attorney you can treat the appointed attorney as if they were the personal representative. Details of how HMRC administers matters in respect of powers of attorney is noted at IDG30430.

Further guidance

For further guidance and assistance please contact your Data Guardian (see IDG80100).