Schedule 23 - Data-gathering powers

Part of Finance (No. 3) Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 2:00 pm on 9th June 2011.

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Photo of David Gauke David Gauke The Exchequer Secretary 2:00 pm, 9th June 2011

Absolutely. I will reasonably briefly set out what schedule 23 is about: modernising existing powers covering data gathering. There are five specific changes, but to save time I will not go into all the details. The minimum time to comply has not been specified but, as the right hon. Member for Delyn says, the schedule allows a period that is

“reasonably specified in the notice”.

Few of the existing powers contain time limits, and HMRC already acts responsibly in allowing an appropriate period in each case. Typically, that is 90 days, and there is no intention to change standard practices. Many notices are issued routinely every year, so data holders assemble the data knowing that the information will be required at the appropriate time, but in exceptional circumstances in which information is urgently required, it is considered reasonable to allow a shorter period, and the legislation allows for that. It mirrors the approach in schedule 36 to the Finance Act 2008. Perhaps I should have checked to see whether I asked the same question during the proceedings on the 2008 Bill from where the right hon. Gentleman is sitting.

It is worth pointing out that if it is considered unduly onerous to comply within the full time limit, and unless the data form part of the person’s statutory records, there is a new right of appeal.