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HMRC internal manual

Specialist Investigations Operational Guidance

Introduction and organisation: communication: communicating by external email: using external email with customers

There are a number of benefits of two-way email communication between HMRC and its customers. These include speed of delivery, departmental cost savings, customer cost reduction, enhanced customer experience and alignment with HMRC’s Digital Strategy. However we need to be aware that email is an insecure means of communication which can be intercepted by third parties. Email communication also increases the opportunity for malware to enter HMRC IT systems via attachments and/or links.

A request to correspond by email must be initiated by the customer/agent. It is HMRC policy not to promote the use of email communication with customers because of the following risks:

  • Confidentiality/privacy - there is a risk that email sent over the internet may be intercepted.
  • Confirming your identity - it is crucial that we only communicate with established business contacts at their correct email addresses.
  • There is no guarantee that an email received over an insecure network, like the internet, has not been altered during transit.

You must always consider if email is the best choice. It may be more appropriate that you set up a Shared Workspace room, if you are sharing large volumes of information, or more sensitive information.