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Tax Credits Act 2002

Schedule 5: Use and disclosure of information

201.Paragraph 1 allows the Board, or any person providing services to it, to use information it holds for the purposes of its functions relating to tax credits, child benefit and guardian’s allowance for any of those functions. Information may also be supplied to any person providing services to the Board, for the purposes of, or in connection with, those functions.

202.Paragraph 2 allows the Board to pool information it holds for the purposes of any of its functions. Information held for the purposes of, or relating to, tax credits, child benefit, guardian’s allowance, tax, national insurance contributions, statutory maternity pay, statutory sick pay, or any other function of the Board may be used for any other of those functions. Information may also be supplied to and used by anyone providing services to the Board, for the purposes of the Board’s functions or in connection with the services provided.

203.Paragraph 3 allows DWP or DSD to use the information they hold in relation to social security benefits (including child benefit or guardian's allowance) or tax credits to exercise certain administrative functions in relation to tax credits, child benefit or guardian's allowance given to them by regulations under the Act or social security legislation

204.Paragraph 4 enables the Board to provide information relating to child benefit, guardian’s allowance or tax credits to the Secretary of State or DSD to enable them to carry out their statutory functions in respect of social security, child support, war pensions and certain authorised functions relating to evaluation and statistical studies.

205.Paragraph 4(3) enables an officer authorised by the Secretary of State or DSD specifically for this purpose to require tax credits, child benefit and guardian’s allowance information to be provided to the Secretary of State or Northern Ireland Department for social security or child support purposes.

206.Paragraph 5 allows the Board to provide tax credits, child benefit and guardian's allowance information to the Secretary of State or the Department of Employment and Learning in Northern Ireland for certain functions related to employment and training which will be set out in regulations.

207.Current social security legislation imposes a criminal sanction on any member of staff in DWP or its Northern Ireland equivalent if any information held by it is disclosed to any unauthorised third party. This restriction on disclosure of information is very similar to the restrictions placed on the Board and its officers so, as in the Tax Credit Act 1999, no further restriction on onward disclosure of information is necessary.

208.Paragraph 6 allows information held by the Secretary of State or the appropriate Northern Ireland Departments in connection with social security, child support, war pensions, employment and training to be provided to the Board. The Board may require information held in connection with child support or social security to be provided.

209.Paragraphs 7 and 8 allow the Board to provide tax credits, child benefit and guardian’s allowance information to authorities administering housing benefit and council tax benefit. The authorities may not pass on information they have received except to someone who could have received it direct from the Board anyway or in connection with certain civil and criminal proceedings. The Board may require authorities administering housing benefit or council tax benefit to supply to them information relevant to the administration of those benefits, for tax credits, child benefit and guardian’s allowance purposes.

210.Paragraph 9 allows the Board to provide tax credits, child benefit and guardian's allowance information to the Department of Health, and the respective departments in the devolved administrations, for certain purposes related to health, which will be set out in regulations. Sub-paragraph (3) provides that information supplied under this paragraph may not be passed on to anyone else, except to someone who could have received it direct from the Board or for use in civil or criminal proceedings, and then only with the consent of the Board.

211.Sub-paragraph (4) makes it a criminal offence to disclose information which has been supplied under this paragraph, unless sub-paragraph (3) applies, the disclosure was required by a court order, the person to whom the information relates gave consent or the information had been anonymised.

212.Paragraph 10 allows the Board to provide child benefit and guardian’s allowance information to civil servants and others to enable them to provide services covered by section 114(1) of the Learning and Skills Act 2000. Those services relate to encouraging, enabling or supporting participation in education or training. Sub-paragraph (3) provides that information supplied under this paragraph may not be passed on to anyone else, except to someone who could have received it direct from the Board or for use in civil or criminal proceedings, and then only with the consent of the Board.

213.Sub-paragraph (4) makes it a criminal offence to disclose information which has been supplied under this paragraph, unless sub-paragraph (3) applies, the disclosure was required by a court order, the person to whom the information relates gave consent or the information had been anonymised.

214.Paragraph 11 extends the offence under section 182 of the Finance Act 1989 (of disclosing information held by the Board or provided to the Tax Commissioners other than for authorised purposes) to cover information obtained in carrying out the Board’s functions in relation to tax credits, child benefit and guardian’s allowance.

215.Paragraphs 12 and 13 provide for consequential amendments to the Social Security Administration Acts and the Finance Act 1997 to reflect the repeal of exchange of information powers under the Tax Credits Act 1999 and the creation of replacement powers in the Act.

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