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HMRC internal manual

International Exchange of Information Manual

Legal framework for exchange: What we can use the information for –uses other than tax

You can only use information obtained under an international agreement for the purposes provided in that specific agreement. As explained in IEIM200100, the primary purpose will be linked to administration, assessment, and enforcement of tax.

Some international agreements provide for the use of information for other purposes where:

  • The domestic laws of both jurisdictions permit such a disclosure; and

  • Specific agreement is given for its disclosure by the sending Competent Authority. 

 

There is an example of this at IEIM101600

If, whilst using information received from another jurisdiction for tax purposes, you see that information would be useful to another UK agency, you should contact the Competent Authority dealing with your case.  Together you can check that the relevant UK gateway exists and ensure that all the other requirements are met under the exchange agreement.

The primary purpose of any request for information should always be in line with the agreement –which will mean it must be foreseeably relevant for tax (IEIM101300).  It is not appropriate to try to use a tax exchange agreement to seek information for another purpose.  In most cases it is very likely that an alernative, appropriate gateway will exist under which the relevant information can be requested.

Under UK law, a person has the right to be clear on what their information is being used for.  In keeping to the terms of the agreement as brought into UK law, we can ensure that these rights are respected.


Example

Jurisdiction A is undertaking research into labour laws.  It asks the UK about the numbers of people paying trade union subscriptions by deduction direct from salary.  This information request is not permissible under the double taxation agreement because the requesting jurisdiction does not intend to use the information for the administration of taxes.