HMRC new powers to access taxpayers' banking records

Following a consultation in 2018, HMRC have this month introduced a new Financial Institution Notice (FIN) that will be used to require financial institutions, such as banks and building societies to provide information to HMRC when requested about a specific taxpayer, without the need for approval from the independent tribunal that considers tax matters.

Information received in response to a FIN will be used for the purpose of checking the tax position of a taxpayer and used for debt collection purposes. The FIN will be balanced by a number of taxpayer safeguards, including:

  • the information sought will have to be reasonably required for the purpose of checking a known taxpayer’s tax position - for international requests the information in the FIN will need to be relevant to the administration or collection of tax and the jurisdiction requesting the information would need to have exhausted all reasonable domestic ways to get the information
  • documents subject to legal professional privilege cannot be requested
  • HMRC will be required to tell the taxpayer why the information is needed, unless a tax tribunal rules this condition should not apply
  • an authorised officer of HMRC (someone with the relevant experience and training) will need to approve the decision to issue a FIN
  • if a Financial Institution does not comply with a FIN and as a result HMRC charges penalties, the Financial Institution will be able to appeal against the penalties

In addition, HMRC will report to Parliament annually on the use of the FIN.

HMRC Guidance

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