Justification for refusal of FOI information

The request was refused by HM Revenue and Customs.

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

I am writing to request information under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. I would be interested in any information held by your organisation regarding my request. I understand that I do not have to specify particular files or documents and it is the departments responsibility to provide the information I require. If you need further clarification please contact me via this website. I would like to request the following information:

In relation to the following FOI response by HMRC on 22 June 2018:

HMRC refused to provide information for the period 5/4/2000 to 5/4/2017 inclusive in regards to
-The total number of promoters that HMRC have been pursued, relentlessly or otherwise.
-The number of promoters who have ceased promoting tax avoidance resulting directly
from measures by HMRC.

The reason provided cited section 31(1)(d) of the FOIA stating that there will be real risk of harm in disclosure in that it may prejudice HMRCs ability to collect tax or duty.

Can you please provide:
(1) any internal policies/procedures/guidance or similar outlining why the disclosure of an anonymised total number of promoters creates a risk of harm to prejudice the assessment or collection of any tax or duty
(2) the specific number of cases over the past five years where you have disclosed a number in a similar instance to the referenced FOI request that has directly impacted on HMRCs ability to assess or collect any tax or duty, and a summary of how that harm was caused by doing so.

Please note, for (1) above I am not looking for any profiling or risk process information that may prejudice your future ability to collect tax. Just specific thinking, reasoning, logic flows or similar that explains why a high-level anonymised number impacts on HMRCs ability to assess individual taxpayers in the future.

Please note, for (2) above, I am not looking for specific names of people or organisations or case information. Just a total number of instances where HMRC have provided a sum total of a collective category of tax payers or other legal entities and it resulted in it being unable to assess or collect tax or duties.

In the event that it cannot provide substantial evidence supporting this assumed stance, I am requesting the information relation to points 3 or 5 in the FOI request outlined in the second paragraph.

If my request is denied in whole or in part I ask that you justify all deletions by reference to specific exemptions of the act. I will also expect you to release all non-exempt material. I reserve the right to appeal your decision to withhold any information or to charge excessive fees. I would be grateful if you could confirm in writing that you have received this request. I look forward to your response within 20 working days as outlined by the statute. Many thanks for your assistance with this request.

Yours faithfully,
Mr Areen Sea

foi.team@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk on behalf of FOI Central Team, HM Revenue and Customs

Our ref: FOI2018/01312

Dear Mr Sea,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Acknowledgement

Thank you for your communication of 23rd June which has been passed to
HMRC's Freedom of Information Team.

We have allocated the above reference which you should quote if you need
to contact us.

The Team will arrange for a reply to be sent to you which will either
comply with HMRC's obligations under Freedom of Information Act or, if we
think it's an enquiry that we don't need to address under the terms of the
Act, let you know why. If it is the latter we will, if possible, pass it
on to a more appropriate part of the Department for answer.

Yours sincerely

HMRC Freedom of Information Act Team

foi.team@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk on behalf of FOI Central Team, HM Revenue and Customs

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Sea,

I am writing in response to your request for information, received 23rd

Yours sincerely,

HMRC Freedom of Information Team