Information disclosure Gateways with other government departments: Department for Work and Pensions (DWP): contents
Why share information with the Department for Work and Pensions?
The functions of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and those of HMRC often depend on a common interest in the same information. In particular the two departments overlap when dealing with National Insurance Contributions (NICs), tax credit applicants, social security benefit claimants and pension credit claimants.
DWP may also request HMRC information on behalf of a local authority. This is because local authorities have a role in the administration of social security benefits in the form of housing benefit and the administration of the benefit cap from April 2013 ; council tax benefits and the replacement council tax relief. There are also certain welfare services and “passported” benefits administered by local authorities which will require HMRC information. This will normally be obtained from DWP.
The Welfare Reform Act 2012 which provides for the introduction of the Universal Credit from 2013, has consequences for the legal bases upon which HMRC may share information with both DWP and local authorities.
The information gateway provided by Section 127 of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 is designed to enable reciprocal sharing of HMRC and DWP information for the departments` respective functions. For example, DWP`s delivery of Universal Credit will be heavily dependant on the information provided by HMRC from the Real Time Information of claimant`s pay and tax details. Whilst this gateway is ostensibly “wide”, it is permissive and as such any disclosures should still be considered against the tests of necessity and proportionality in the Human Rights Act and the Data Protection Act. SeeIDG40140 and IDG40160
The Universal Credit will eventually replace numerous means-tested benefits and Tax Credits. For example, Housing Benefit will form part of the new Universal Credit award. However, existing Tax Credit claimants will continue to receive Housing Benefit until they migrate to Universal Credit. The gateways within the Tax Credit Act which currently permit the disclosure of HMRC information to DWP will remain extant as long as the Tax Credit award remains in place.
Ensuring information is shared lawfully
All disclosures of HMRC information must be lawful. See IDG40300 for more information on lawful disclosure as provided by the CRCA.
To be lawful, HMRC may only share information with DWP through a legal gateway. See IDG40320 for general information about legal gateways. The appropriate legal gateway to use is listed under each type of disclosure to DWP at IDG51210 to IDG51290.
You must also ensure when passing information to DWP that you follow the agreed procedure for disclosures. Details are listed under each type of disclosure to DWP:
Additionally the DWP has oversight of the Health and Safety Executive. See IDG52000 for information on disclosure to the HSE.
IDG51210Income tax information
IDG51220NIC, statutory sick pay, or statutory maternity pay information
IDG51230Tax Credits information
IDG51240Child Benefit information
IDG51250Information is requested by the DWP on behalf of a local authority
IDG51260Requests for information regarding persons other than the claimant
IDG51270Requests for VAT information
IDG51280Requests for name and address of employer