HMRC 'plans to share tax data with private firms'

HM Revenue & Customs logo HMRC says further consultation on the plans will take place

Related Stories

Taxpayers' personal data could be shared with private firms under plans drawn up by Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

If given the go-ahead it would allow HMRC to release anonymous tax data to third parties including companies, researchers and public bodies.

But former Conservative minister David Davis told the Guardian the plans were "borderline insane".

An HMRC spokesman said "no final decisions" had been taken, and it was committed to "confidentiality".

'Defies logic'

The newspaper reported that "charging options" were being examined by officials, suggesting that firms could pay to access the data.

But concern has been raised over the plans in the wake of the initiative - a proposed anonymous sharing of NHS medical records - which is currently suspended after fears were raised as to exactly what information would remain anonymous.

Start Quote

You would have hoped HMRC would have learned that trying to sneak plans like this under the radar is not the way to build trust or develop good policy”

End Quote Emma Carr Big Brother Watch

Plans to relax the laws around HMRC data-sharing - which are being overseen by Treasury minister David Gauke - were first consulted on in July last year, but HMRC said "further consultations" would also be taking place.

Mr Davis told the Guardian: "The officials who drew this up clearly have no idea of the risks to data in an electronic age.

"Our forefathers put these checks and balances in place when the information was kept in cardboard files, and data was therefore difficult to appropriate and misuse.

"It defies logic that we would remove those restraints at a time when data can be collected by the gigabyte, processed in milliseconds and transported around the world almost instantaneously."

Emma Carr, deputy director of civil rights campaign group, Big Brother Watch, said: "The ongoing claims about anonymous data overlook the serious risks to privacy of individual level data being vulnerable to re-identification.

"Given the huge uproar about similar plans for medical records, you would have hoped HMRC would have learned that trying to sneak plans like this under the radar is not the way to build trust or develop good policy."

'Unlawful disclosure'

A HMRC spokesman said: "HMRC would only share data where this would generate clear public benefits, and where there are robust safeguards in place.

"Last year's consultation made it very clear that there would be a rigorous accreditation process for anyone wanting access to the data and that any access would take place in a secure environment.

"Those accessing data would be subject to the same confidentiality provisions as HMRC staff, including a criminal sanction for unlawful disclosure of taxpayer information."


More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • rate this

    Comment number 1009.

    The Tory party would justify selling off your children and the lowest denomination.

    They really have no shame or any scruples.

    Time we ditched them, and reformed those so called elected muppets in parliament.

    You grass root activists are in for a real shock when you start your political canvassing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1008.

    Which little Sir Humphrey is getting a nice kick back then?

  • rate this

    Comment number 1007.

    And in a few years from now, you will take a phone call from an Indian tax consultant who has purchased the rights to go through your tax affairs from HMRC.

    "We have reviewed your tax affairs sir and you owe £5.61 in unpaid tax plus our administration charges of £296.73"

    It is on its way folks. Trust me!

  • rate this

    Comment number 1006.

    HMRC selling private info,
    Suspect that info will not apply to anyone engaged in Big Busisness,or Politics, or the Royal Family..
    Certain people have the right to know everything about you.
    But you have no,right to know everything about them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1005.

    The government offices always say that further consultation will take place: with whom ? Its our confidential information they are talking about , so it should be with the tax payers

  • rate this

    Comment number 1004.

    In future any request for information from any government agency will be met with 'Please state the reason why you need this precise data to undertake your work' - eg why does HMRC need a date of birth? Income Tax has no relation to age - you earn, you pay - and as the NI number is unique there is no need for it for identity purposes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1003.

    In the Nordic countries tax information is public information. It enable anyone to see the earnings and tax paid by anyone else.This includes politicians, bankers, the lot. It's a hard concept for us secretive British to get our heads round but it makes it very difficult to cheat or launder money and explains why the gap between the higher paid and the lower paid is much, much smaller than the UK.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1002.

    There is something in the definition ... this is personal data. Personal. I don't recall signing up to anything from HMRC or other bureaucratic body authorising them to share my personal data. If they behave is this autocratic manner, then I want an opt-out from HMRC...

  • rate this

    Comment number 1001.

    It is easy to see that the endgame of all this stealing of private data, both medical and financial, is to throw human beings into corporate control.

    I say NO to this NWO agenda. They have no right to this information, and no right to destroy human rights and human dignity.


  • rate this

    Comment number 1000.

    It's all well and good having legal sanctions and the threat of prison time for misuse. When the damage is done it matters not a joy if someone's jailed over it.

    I think the Tories are totally wrong with this and the proposed NHS system.

    On a lighter note if even David Davis can see the problems ahead they know they're in trouble.

  • rate this

    Comment number 999.

    When a system starts to fail, when democracy starts to take a back seat and with professional failures on the rise in the UK, this is what happens in a country - a country once the beacon of the world.

  • rate this

    Comment number 998.

    Government Departments consult... Then do what they were intending anyway. The cle is in the first syllable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 997.

    Further proof the tories will go to any lengths to pay for yet more millionaires' tax cuts. We all know the promises about confidentiality are as valid as CaMORON's promises to preserve British jobs for British workers - anyone else remember that lie?
    And when, after the inevitable errors, etc., some moneyed person sues the govt, the taxpayer gets the bill. Toryism in action.

  • rate this

    Comment number 996.

    Just what colour is the sky on their planet? What level of insane stupidity is required to invent a proposal like this? I'm speechless!!! Uh?

  • rate this

    Comment number 995.

    Is this revenge because of the MPs being made to disclose the extent of corruption in their expenses system? If they are now forced to be public in their dealings they feel our data is fair game?
    What a bunch of out of touch parasitical idiots.

  • rate this

    Comment number 994.

    Not theirs to share (no apostrophe please). Quite. They trust taxpayers to declare sources of income, but then breach that trust by not asking us for consent. Dishonest.

  • rate this

    Comment number 993.

    Typical of this government, everything has a financial value. They want to sell your tax details, your health records, everything, so that you can get spammed by companies.

    I do hope they sell MP's expense claims soon also, I love a good fairy tale.

  • rate this

    Comment number 992.

    You now, if a company announced it was going to try to make money from private data like this, politicians would be calling it a scam. This is also a scam by an HMRC that can't (or won't) track down real tax miscreants. Lazy, scamming tax officials are not an ornament to our country. Please, think again - or actually, HMRC, just think.

  • rate this

    Comment number 991.

    "Is anything not for sale in the UK?"
    Yes, integrity, common sense, honesty - we've none left.

  • rate this

    Comment number 990.


    The Banks control our economy, our society, our values.

    We are manipulated to accept MPs who steal money and get away scott-free.

    We are manipulate to accept corporations that pay no tax.

    And the Government wants to sell our private data now.

    And the BBC will tell us not to fight.

    Generations of British people fought to make this country strong.

    Now, it's being raped.


Page 1 of 51


More UK stories


Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show


  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.