Identity Unknown Notice

An identity unknown notice can be issued under FA 2008, Sch. 36, para. 5 to require the production of information or a document reasonably required for checking the tax position of:-

  • A person who’s identity is not known to the officer
  • A class of persons whose individual identities are not known to the officer.


A notice can only be issued by an authorised officer and only with the approval of the Tribunal. However no approval is required for an identity unknown notice issued to:-

  • A partner for the purpose of checking the tax position of one or more of the other partners in their capacity as such (Para. 37 (6)).
  • A parent company for the purpose of checking the tax position of one or more of its subsidiaries (Para. 35 (5)).


The conditions that have been met before the Tribunal can give its approval for an identity unknown notice are set out in the Finance Act 2008, Sch. 36, para. 5 and are as follows:-

  • The authorised officer does not know the identity of the person or individual identities of a class of persons.
  • There are reasonable grounds for believing the person or class of persons may have failed to comply or may fail to comply with the tax provision.
  • The failure to comply with the tax provision is likely to have led or to lead to serious prejudice to the assessment or collection of UK tax.
  • The information or document is not readily available from any other source.


Para. 5 (5) defines UK tax as any tax apart from the relevant foreign tax.

HMRC will consider there was a serious prejudice to the collection or assessment of tax if there was a risk of:-

  • Tipping off a person suspected of committing a serious civil offence.
  • The loss of significant amounts of tax.

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