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HMRC internal manual

Information Disclosure Guide

Information disclosure Gateways with other government departments: Department for Work and Pensions (DWP): information is requested by the DWP on behalf of a local authority

Local authorities may request information from HMRC but only via DWP. (This is except in Tax Credit and Child Benefit cases - please refer to IDG51230 for Tax Credit cases and IDG51240 for Child Benefit cases).

Which part of HMRC can disclose this information?
The purpose for which information may be disclosed
Information which can be disclosed
Procedure to follow
If the LA, via DWP, request any further information than that noted above
Legislation which allows disclosure
Devolved administrations
Further guidance

Which part of HMRC can disclose this information?

All disclosures made to Local Authorities via DWP must be made via the dedicated mailbox, (please see the procedure to follow below). You should only refer information for disclosure in this way if you are an officer working in:

  • a Risk team (former RIAT)
  • Debt Management and Banking
  • NICO & EO

As both DMB and NICO & EO are large organisations, if you are in these organisations and you wish to disclose please confirm with your manager that you are the most appropriate person to refer the request to RIS.

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The purpose for which information may be disclosed

The prevention, detection, investigation or prosecution of offences relating to housing benefit or council tax benefit, or for checking the accuracy of housing benefit or council tax benefit information.

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Information which can be disclosed

The information that may be disclosed comprises:

  • start and end dates of employment,
  • amount of earnings,
  • dates of self-employment,
  • amount of drawings (or net profit in cases where the balance sheet is not available or the turnover is under £15,000), or
  • subcontractor payments under the Construction Industry Scheme.

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Procedure to follow

All information requests received from and made to DWP will be handled using a dedicated mail box. Therefore all requests should be channelled through the dedicated mailbox at ‘Intelligence Bureau, RIS’.

DWP requesting information on behalf of a local authority, must complete the agreed stencil. This stencil is provided at IDG90400 for your information, but DWP should have a copy of the stencil. This stencil lets you know the request is on behalf of a local authority.

Once RIS are satisfied that the stencil has been completed correctly they will arrange for the disclosure to be made. Only information within the description above can generally be disclosed

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If the LA, via DWP, request any further information than that noted above

  • If the LA requests information about a person other than the claimant (a ‘third party’) please see IDG51260.
  • If the LA request VAT information, please see IDG51270.
  • If the LA request information about the name and address of an employer, please see IDG51280.

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Legislation which allows disclosure

Sections 122 and 122C Social Security Administration Act 1992 allow the DWP to request information on behalf of a local authority for the above purposes.

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Devolved administrations

This guidance is applicable to England, Wales and Scotland.

For Northern Ireland, all references to DWP include the Social Security Agency (SSA). Similarly, any references to local authorities refer to the Northern Ireland Housing Executive.

Details of NICO & EO Teams can be found at IDG80100. For further guidance and assistance please contact your Data Guardian.

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Further guidance

If you receive a request for information and are unsure how to proceed, please contact your Data Guardian for advice. (see IDG80100).