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National Insurance Contributions and Statutory Payments Act 2004

Aligning the powers of Inland Revenue officers to gather information for tax and contributions purposes

Current position

36.Inland Revenue powers to obtain information in relation to contributions are governed by section 110ZA of the SSAA 1992. Section 110ZA was inserted by the ToFA 1999 and was derived from the provisions of section 110 as they previously applied to the then Department of Social Security in relation to contributions. The officers’ powers in relation to tax are governed by section 20 of the TMA 1970.

37.The powers in relation to contributions are significantly different to those which apply in relation to tax and include the ability to:

  • enter premises without a warrant;

  • question anybody found on the premises; and

  • compel the provision of information and documents without first issuing a notice subject to third party scrutiny. (Requests for information for tax purposes under section 20 of the TMA 1970 are normally subject to third party scrutiny).

Effect of the measure

38.Section 7 (Great Britain) and section 8 (Northern Ireland) provide for the provisions of section 20, 20B and 20BB of the TMA 1970 to apply to National Insurance contributions.

39.Section 20 of the TMA 1970 allows the Inland Revenue to obtain information about a person’s tax affairs. It applies to other aspects of the Inland Revenue’s business, for example, Tax Credits.

40.The application of section 20 to National Insurance contributions will allow the Inland Revenue to ask any contributor (including secondary contributors) to provide documents and information about their liability for National Insurance contributions. The Inland Revenue can also ask third parties to provide documents that they have which are relevant to the contributions liability of another.

41.Information and documents are provided in response to formal notices. The consent of a Tax Appeal Commissioner is needed before such a notice can be issued.

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