Generally Art.1 of the First protocol and Art.6 and Art.8 of the European Convention on Human Rights incorporated into UK law by the Human Rights Act 1998 safeguard a person’s rights with regards to tax in the same way as they do in other respects.
This is subject however to some caveats:-
The right to respect for private and family life provided by Art.8 guarantees a person’s (including a company’s) right to respect for their:-
However, Art.8 (2) permits intrusion into a person’s private or family life if it is:-
Operating within the tax laws to protect the revenues of the UK will satisfy the first and last of these conditions.
To be “necessary” however, HMRC must be able to show that their actions are proportionate and reasonable. Officers are instructed that to assess proportionally, they must take into account the following:-
and that interference will be considered proportional only if it is the minimum required to achieve the aim, taking into account:-
If it is not clear exactly why the information is required the officer should be challenged and asked to explain why a breach of the person’s privacy is considered to be justified in the circumstances.
It should be pointed out, if necessary, that the more private the information, the more justification is needed.
Contact KinsellaTax on 0800 471 4546.