Information disclosure Gateways with other government departments: Government ministers
You may only disclose HMRC information to government ministers where you have lawful authority. This may be:
- through a statutory information sharing gateway with another government department (see IDG50000 for details of current gateways);
- where the disclosure is for the functions of HMRC (see IDG40400 for further advice); or
- where you have the customer’s consent (see IDG30210).
In addition to the requirement that any disclosure must be lawful, care must be taken to ensure that any information provided is necessary, relevant and proportionate. It is unlikely to be necessary to provide information that identifies a customer (or enables their identity to be deduced) when disclosing HMRC information directly to ministers, particularly if the disclosure is for a policy purpose.
Ensuring information is shared lawfully
Anonymised information may be disclosed to ministers where it will aid the development or maintenance of policy or explain HMRC policy or operational decisions.
Such disclosures will generally be necessary, expedient, incidental or conducive to the exercise of HMRC’s functions (See IDG40400 for further information.)
Customer specific information
HM Treasury ministers
There is no statutory gateway that enables HMRC to lawfully disclose HMRC information to HMT ministers, so information that identifies a person (or enables their identity to be deduced) can only be shared where there is another lawful means of disclosure. Disclosure may be lawful where it supports the functions of HMRC (not the functions of HMT), or where you have the consent of each person (individual or business) to whom the information relates.
If you are considering a disclosure of customer specific information to HMT ministers you should read the more detailed guidance at IDG52200.
Ministers from other government departments
HMRC may lawfully disclose to a minister from another government department where there is a specific statutory information-sharing gateway that enables disclosure of the requested information to the relevant Secretary of State for a certain purpose or function. Information may also be lawfully disclosed where the disclosure supports the functions of HMRC (not the functions of the recipient department), or where you have the consent of each person (individual or business) to whom the information relates.
If you receive a request for customer specific HMRC information from a minister in another government department, you must seek advice from Information Policy and Disclosure (IDG80100) before making any disclosure.
If you receive a request for information and are unsure how to proceed please contact your Data Guardian for advice.