Notices to give information
A notice requiring you to give information can be sent to you for many reasons – for example, we may need details of a particular transaction to determine its tax consequences.
This type of notice may also be used to determine whether any relevant documents we need are in existence. A notice to give information allows us to make wide-ranging enquiries – provided those enquiries are for the purposes of the relevant law.
We generally issue a notice to give information (rather than a notice to produce documents) if:
- the information we need is not contained in a document – for example, a transaction without a written record
- a description of a document, rather than its contents, will be sufficient.
A notice to give information can be used to make general enquiries about a category of persons. For example, a lawyer may be asked to give us a list of names of clients who have entered into a particular transaction. If we require bulk data from you, we will seek to minimise your time and cost in obtaining the information and responding to our notice as much as possible.
In certain cases where a notice is sent to you, but your response is given by another person (for example, your legal or accounting representative) you must provide us with your confirmation and acknowledgment of that response.
Our notices issued under this power will identify the information we need you to give us – for example, the notice might specify that we require a list of:
- the documents held in a safe deposit box at a specified bank branch in your name falling within a certain range of dates
- all the transactions relating to accounts in your name at the bank branch for a specified period.
We may obtain information from you by way of a notice, even though we may not know in advance whether the information actually exists or whether you can give it to us. In these cases, our notice may provide a general description of the information needed – for example, details of an offshore bank account held, including account name, account number and client number.
We generally require you to give the information to us in writing, but will also work with you if there is a suitable alternative means of providing it. Our preference is to obtain information electronically for notices requiring large volumes of information. We usually give you an opportunity to correct any assumptions you believe we have incorrectly made in the course of our information-gathering activities.
We may also issue a notice to another party to locate your whereabouts, unless this use of our notice powers could result in contempt of court.