After 1 April 2009 HMRC officers must only use the new information and inspection powers included in Finance Act 2008, even if they are continuing an enquiry that started before that date.  The old provisions were repealed when the new powers were introduced so they cannot, and must not, be used.


If, however, an officer has used the previous powers to obtain information by issuing a TMA 1970, s. 19A notice, and the information has not been provided, the powers to enforce the notice remain in place.  For example, if a s. 19A notice was issued on 25 March 2009, giving a 30-day time-limit for producing the required information, and the taxpayer fails to comply with the notice, the officer can assess a fixed penalty and settle any appeal against it under TMA 1970, s. 54.


If a compliance check starts after 1 April 2009, the only information and inspection powers available to the officer are those contained in Sch. 36.  Officers are warned against using the powers in Sch. 36 to request information or documents that they would like to have requested before 1 April 2009 but were unable to obtain under the old powers.


For example, if the officer would have liked to have obtained information from a third party before 1 April 2009 but could not do so because the old powers under TMA 1970, s. 20(3) only permitted a request for documents, not information, it is not permissible to use the new powers to obtain the information that could not previously be requested.  The new powers can only be used to obtain information from third parties where the need for that information can be shown to have arisen after 1 April 2009.


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