A document must already exist when the notice is issued for HMRC to be able to require that it is produced.
‘Producing’ does not mean delivering, so it is enough to make it available for examination. The officer can take a copy (at HMRC’s expense) or make extracts from the document, or remove it and retain it for a reasonable period.
A document is ‘anything in which information of any description is recorded’, including information held electronically. A document can also be part of a document.
Para. 58 defines document to include part of a document (unless the context requires otherwise).
If part of a document is protected from the information powers, compliance with the notice can be by way of providing a copy of the non-protected parts or a copy of the whole document with the protected parts blacked out. The whole of the original document must be produced, however, if required, with the protected parts covered up.
If none of the document is protected, the officer will only accept that the notice has been complied with if part only is produced if they can be satisfied that the parts withheld have no bearing at all on the person’s tax position.
There are special provisions in FA 2008, s.114 covering electronic documents. An electronic document or record includes such things as:-
A person is permitted to produce a copy of the information held electronically where an electronic document or record is required by an information notice. The copy can be on paper or in another electronic format, such as a CD or DVD.
The officer can specify that the document is produced in such form as is reasonable. If, therefore, a printed version is produced, the officer can specify that it should be produced as an electronic copy if they have reasonable grounds for doing so.