HMRC have extended their data collecting powers to keep up with changing technology and payment methods.

Sucessive finance acts (2011 to 2013) have given HMRC with the power to collect a wide range data about taxpayer financial affairs from individuals and businesses. Since 2013 HMRC has also been able to collect data on credit and debit card transactions to help them identify traders who are either not registered for tax or who are under-declaring their income. These bulk collection powers are in addition to HMRC's power to issue separate information notices under sch 36 FA 2008 to individuals and third parties who hold data on taxpayers.  

Further legislation was included in the Finance Act 2016, which gives HMRC a further extension to its bulk data collection powers to cover new payment methods such as digital wallets.  HMRC will also collect data from

  • Electronic payment providers and
  • Business intermediaries who facilitate transactions, usually online.

Relevant data which HMRC can require includes the account holder’s

  • Name
  • Address
  • Telephone number
  • Email address
  • Website address
  • National Insurance number
  • VAT number
  • Unique Tax Reference (UTR)
  • Other identifying information
  • Bank account details
  • Status as individual, partnership or limited company

In addition, business intermediaries will be required to provide

  • Details of the gross value of transactions that they facilitate.
  • Any information that would enable HMRC to establish the level of transactions of the business, such as commissions, transaction reviews, click through rates or visits to adverts.

Finance Act 2011 Schedule 23 sets out the data gathering powers and includes legislation relating to the form of the notice given to the data-holder, the penalties for non-compliance and appeals against the notices.

The legislation extending these powers is included in Finance Act 2016, section 176.