RSTP2003 - Information notices: General rules

RSTPA guidance on general rules of information notices, including information that may be required to be provided or documents that required to be produced.

Content of an information notice

An information notice given to you by us may require you to:

if the information and/or document is reasonably required by us for the purpose of checking a tax position (see RSTP2029).

The information notice may specify or describe the information and/or document required and a reasonable time, means and form in which the information and/or documents are to be provided or produced.

The information notice will also explain your rights, for example the circumstances under which you can give a notice of review (see RSTP6006) or appeal (see RSTP6008) against the information notice. If an information notice is given with the approval of a tribunal then the notice must state this.

RSTPA 2014 section 131

Guidance on the restrictions which apply to information notices can be found at RSTP2009.

Specifying a reasonable time

Each information notice will be considered individually. In specifying a reasonable time we will take account of the nature of the information and/or documents required and how easy it will be for you to provide or produce them. It might be reasonable for example to expect you to comply with a notice to provide simple information or produce a readily available document within a fairly short period.

We also recognise that if you need to retrieve documents from archive storage and sift through them to find the required items, perhaps having to consider whether only parts of documents need to be produced, you might need longer to complete the task.

We will consider any reasonable request by you for more time to comply with an information notice. Where appropriate, we may agree to extend the time required to produce documents and/or provide information to take into account any new or relevant factors put forward by you or the person we have asked to provide the information.

The specified period will also take account of the time taken for the notice and the response to be posted.

As a starting point, we assume it should be reasonable to expect that most information or documents could be provided or produced within 30 days from the date of the information notice. However we may offer or agree longer periods for compliance depending on specific circumstances.

Specifying and describing the required information or documents

An information notice must specify as clearly as possible the information and/or documents that we require. If it is not possible to specify a specific document then the information notice will describe as clearly and narrowly as possible the documents, for example ‘…all correspondence between you and ABC Ltd in the period 1 May to 30 May 2015’.

This is important because any information and/or documents requested in an information notice must be reasonably required by us.

It may be necessary to use general descriptions in order to ensure that all the information and/or documents needed are covered by the notice. We will limit as far as possible the use of general descriptors in order to be as precise as possible about what information is required.

Mistakes in an information notice

An information notice will not be quashed or void because:

  • it is not in a correct form;
  • it contains a mistake or defect; or
  • there is an omission,

provided that:

  • it meets the intentions and meaning of the law; and
  • the person affected by the notice is adequately identified.

Substantial errors in an information notice may mean that a fresh notice is issued.

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