Opinion

What is a document?

You probably think that a document is something that can only be paper based. However, a recent ruling involving HMRC in pursuit of their powers to examine had led to the courts interpreting documents to include computers, ipods and iPhones.

The decision is based upon the definition of a document in Schedule 36 of the Finance Act 2008 which says it is "...anything in which information of any description is recorded, and...anything onto which information of any description has been copied, by whatever means and whether directly or indirectly".

The means that HMRC have the power to remove a computer - or arguably an iPod or iPhone - if it contains information that is relevant to a line of enquiry being followed by HMRC.

This was first published in May 2011

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