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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Disclosure of information: Human Rights Act; information sharing provisions

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

  • Human Rights Act 1998


Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (NMWM16190) has a bearing on how, and why, HM Revenue & Customs (NMWM02030) may disclose information.

This article provides that ‘everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence’. However this right is not an absolute right. HM Revenue & Customs may disclose confidential information if the disclosure is:

  • in accordance with the law, and
  • in pursuit of a legitimate aim, and
  • necessary in a democratic society.

This means that to comply with Article 8 you must disclose information lawfully (NMWM16070). It also means that you must ensure that:

  • the reason for disclosing information is sufficiently important to justify ‘infringing the right to privacy,’ and
  • the information disclosed is no more than is needed to accomplish the objective. This means that the disclosure must be proportionate to the purpose for which the information is disclosed. This requirement is difficult to define absolutely but essentially it means that a judgement must be made for each disclosure about whether the data being disclosed is reasonable in relation to what it will be used for. There is a balance to be struck between the need to safeguard the rights and freedoms of the individual against the wider interests of the effective operation of society through, for example the prevention or detection of crime.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)