This guidance reflects the provisions of Part 2 of the Tax Collection and Management (Wales) Act 2016 (“TCMA”).
This is additional and complementary to the protections in the Data Protection Act 1998 which are explained in our privacy notice.
TCMA/7010 Use of taxpayer information
The WRA will protect and handle taxpayer information with care. WRA may only use information it has acquired in connection with its functions (subject to any international obligations of the UK that restricts or prohibits the use of information).
Protected taxpayer information (‘PTI’) is information the WRA has (or any person to which the WRA has delegated its functions), which could lead to that person being identified. Information is not ‘PTI’ if it is information about internal administrative arrangements of the WRA or in relation to a member of WRA staff.
TCMA/7020 Confidentiality of PTI
There is a statutory obligation for ‘relevant officials’ to treat PTI confidentially. Relevant officials are:
- an individual who is (or was) a member of WRA staff, or a member of a WRA committee or sub-committee
- an individual who is (or was) exercising functions or providing services on behalf of WRA. This would also include anyone who provides services to any individual to which WRA has delegated functions.
The general rule is that PTI must not be disclosed.
A relevant official may, however, disclose PTI where specifically permitted by law to do so.
TCMA/7030 Permitted disclosures of PTI
WRA will use, share or disclose PTI in clearly defined circumstances where it is legally required or permitted to do so, and where the WRA considers that it is proportionate and in the public interest to do so.
It is permitted:
- with the consent of each person to whom the information relates
- for the purposes of obtaining services in connection with a function of WRA. This includes contracts and shared service agreements entered into between WRA and other public sector bodies or private sector providers
- for the purposes of criminal investigations or criminal proceedings or for the purposes of the prevention or detection of crime
- if it is made to a relevant regulatory body
- for the purposes of civil proceedings
- if the information is needed in relation to a court order or tribunal proceedings
- to a person exercising functions on behalf of the WRA for the purposes of those functions, such as a contractor.
TCMA/7040 Declaration of confidentiality
Relevant officials who have access to protected taxpayer information must make a formal declaration acknowledging their obligation of confidentiality. This must happen as soon as possible after their appointment. The format of the declaration will be determined by WRA.
TCMA/7050 Consequences of wrongful disclosure of PTI
A relevant official commits a criminal offence if they unlawfully disclose PTI.
Someone charged with wrongfully disclosing PTI could use the defence that they reasonably believed the disclosure was lawful. Alternatively, they could claim that the information disclosed had already been lawfully made public. However, the person charged with the offence has the responsibility for proving this.
TCMA/7060 Prohibitions or restrictions on using, sharing or disclosing protected taxpayer information
Examples of statutory provisions which might prohibit or restrict the use, sharing or disclosure (whichever applies) of PTI information are:
- The Data Protection Act 1998 (for example data protection principle 7 in schedule 1 of the Act, that appropriate technical and organisational measures must be taken to protect all personal data)
- The Human Rights Act 1998, and
- The EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).