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HMRC internal manual

Tax Credits Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Miscellaneous: C to D: child at risk - request or information from LA or HSSBT (Info)

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has a very strict duty of confidentiality. All staff have a personal responsibility to ensure information concerning all customers is only divulged correctly and legally.

You must not, unless you have lawful authority to do so, disclose information about a customer to anyone outside HMRC, including other Government Departments and Agencies, Local Authorities (LA), Health and Social Services Board & Trusts in Northern Ireland (HSSBT), the Police or any other public bodies.

Phone calls may be received from local authorities (LAs or HSSBTs) requesting details of the name and address of a tax credits customer where it’s thought a child could be at risk.

Strict guidelines apply to both the local authorities in the requesting of information and HMRC in the provision of information.

HMRC now has lawful authority, contained in paragraph 10A of Schedule 5 to the Tax Credit Act 2002 by virtue of section 63 of the Children Act 2004, to provide local authorities with information held in Child Benefit, Guardians Allowance or tax credits records. This information will usually be limited to name and address details only.

Local Authorities should only contact Tax Credit Office (TCO) where there are urgent concerns about a child or family that’s missing and all immediate sources of information do not hold the required information.

Details of all phone calls and information requested from LAs in England, Scotland and Wales and HSSBTs in Northern Ireland should be directed to Child Benefit Office Customer Relations Unit.

If a written request for this information is received in the TCO, fax the letter along with the form to the appropriate office.

There is an Action Guide for this subject, select TCM0134040 to access it