RSTP2011 - Information notice restrictions: Personal records

RSTPA guidance on the restrictions which apply to information notices regarding personal records.

An information notice cannot require you to provide or produce:

  • personal records; or
  • information in such records.

The meaning of ‘personal records’ is defined in legislation. It means documents and other records concerning any individual (living or dead) which enable the identification of the individual’s identity and which relate to:

  • the individual’s physical or mental health;
  • spiritual counselling or assistance given, or to be given, to the individual; or
  • counselling or assistance given, or to be given, to the individual for their personal welfare by any voluntary organisation or by any individual who:
    • by reason of an office or occupation has responsibility for the individual’s personal welfare; or
    • by reason of a court order has responsibility for the individual’s supervision.

Where a document falling within the definition of personal records contains ‘mixed’ information (in other words both information which is personal and not personal) then an information notice can require you to provide the information that does not relate to personal information.

This can be done by omitting the information that makes the document a ‘personal record’. If the information notice requires a ‘personal record’ document to be produced or inspected, the personal information can be covered up or redacted so that we cannot see or access it.

‘Personal records’ information in itself will not normally be required to check a tax position and any document that contains personal information is very sensitive. There will therefore be a strong presumption in favour of personal privacy.

RSTPA 2014 section 136

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