Information disclosure Gateways with other government departments: UK Border Agency: UK Borders Act 2007 (immigration, asylum and nationality matters)
Information which can be disclosed
Any information held by HMRC in connection with its functions may be disclosed to UK Border Force (UKBF) for its immigration, nationality and customs functions.
Procedure to follow
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed with the UKBF which specifies the procedures that we will follow in exchanging direct tax information with UKBF.
For direct tax information, UKBF will make requests under s40 or s41A UKBA07, using the form specified in the MoU. This must then be approved by a UKBF authorising officer before being sent for processing:
- to the Gateway Exchange Team (GET) Cardiff (CRI) for requests with the protective marking of “Restricted”, or
- to the National Co-ordination Unit (NCU in Ipswich where the protective marking is “Sensitive”.
Disclosures should be made on a case-by-case basis. When requesting information about an individual(s) or business(es), the request must contain details of the investigation or purpose to which it relates and the specific details required from HMRC- e.g. current address, details of income etc.
HMRC will only participate in bulk data matching exercises where it has been agreed that doing so is proportionate and in line with the statutory provisions permitting disclosure, e.g. for the prevention of benefit fraud.
A request should indicate the protective marking appropriate, taking account of the sensitivity of the information provided in support of that request.
HMRC officers may make spontaneous (proactive) disclosures of information to UKBF, by sending the information to(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) who will forward it to UKBF). UKBF are keen for HMRC to inform them of any items of interest to them, such as: lists of stolen or abused National Insurance numbers, information concerning asylum support fraud and information concerning the employment of illegal migrants.
UKBF and HMRC may become involved in joint operations or exercises, some of which may include other departments such as DWP. When such operations are planned, HMRC officers involved must contact (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) to obtain prior permission to disclose to UKBF directly (in “real time”) for the purposes of the operation. HMRC officers must keep a record of the disclosure made during the course of the operation. At the end of the operation, officers must send a report to NCU London detailing the number of disclosures made. Those records must be retained locally for 3 years.
Indirect tax and other HMRC information
Disclosure of indirect tax and other HMRC information is not covered by the process set out in the MoU and may be made directly to UKBF where there is relevant lawful authority to do so.
Legislation which allows disclosure
Section 40 UK Borders Act 2007 (UKBA07) permits HMRC to disclose information to the UK Border Force (UKBF) for the purposes of “doing anything in connection with the exercise of immigration and nationality functions”.
Section 41A UK Borders Act 2007 (UKBA07) enables HMRC to disclose information to UKBF for the purposes of UKBF’s customs functions.
If the purpose of the disclosure relates to a criminal matter and cannot be made under s40 or s41 UKBA07, the gateway provided by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001 (ATCSA) may be relevant. Please see IDG55130 for more details.