HMRC cannot require the production of personal records or of the information contained in them.
Section 12 defines personal records as records concerning any individual’s physical, mental, spiritual or personal welfare.
Because, for example, a medical practitioner’s records might mix a patient’s personal notes containing diagnosis and treatment with billing details for diagnosing and treating them.
Para.19 (3) allows HMRC to require a person to produce personal records that omit the information that makes them personal records so that just the information that is not personal information is produced.
Before they are allowed to ask for personal records, officers must consult with their Head Office Unit, Central Policy, Tax Administration and Advice.
They will want to be sure that the proposed action is proportionate and the only effective way of carrying out the check. Officers are instructed that they must never use the information for any purpose other than to investigate the tax affairs of the professional concerned.
Patient information gathered in this way must not be used to check the tax position of the patients.
HMRC take the view that appointments diaries and the like, which simply name the patients, are not personal records.