On 10 July 2018, HMRC published a consultation paper on options for amendments to its civil information powers.

Most of the proposals relate to third party notices about a known taxpayer. The proposed options include:

• aligning the process for issuing third party notices with that for taxpayer notices. This would mean that tribunal approval would not be required before issuing such a notice and the third party would have a right to appeal to the tribunal if the requirements were too onerous

• introducing a targeted power to obtain banking information. This would be modelled on the existing power contained in paragraph 34, Schedule 36, Finance Act 2008 (information relating to goods or services forming part of any person's statutory records) and, again, could be exercised without tribunal approval.

Additionally, HMRC proposes to extend Schedule 36 to allow information to be obtained if it is reasonably required for the purposes of any of its tax functions (for example, debt collection). HMRC also proposes to remedy a defect in the legislation charging increased daily penalties for failing to comply with a notice and to harmonise the penalty regime by extending increased daily penalties to all Schedule 36 notices.

The closing date for comments is 2 October 2018 and a response document will be published in the autumn.

A copy of the consultation document can be viewed here.