Email communications policy
The Income Tax Division corresponds with various customers by email, like many other organisations this is a regular practice, however it is not 100% secure. Therefore we have decided to strengthen our security procedures to protect personal data.
Personal data is data which can be used to identify an individual. Examples include:-
- Date of birth, name and address
- Tax reference number and National Insurance number
- Details regarding income tax assessments, codes, debts and payments for both National Insurance and tax
- Details of accounts and computations
- Bank account details
The policy came into effect on 1 August 2015.
Why we need a policy
We need a policy to ensure that we safeguard personal data and to ensure that we comply with the requirements of the relevant legislation and guidelines. This includes:
- The Computer Security Act
- The Data Protection Act
- Government Financial Regulations and Code of Best Practice
How it will affect you
The Income Tax Division has reviewed its practices regarding email exchanges with the public and decided to introduce the following measures when responding to enquiries by email.
- All attachments which include personal data must be password protected or encrypted.
- No tax references, National Insurance numbers or dates of birth are to be included in the subject title (the subject title will be changed if any of these details are included in the incoming email title).
- Responses to general enquiries will be in a general manner without reference to specific clients or personal details.
- Change of addresses can be accepted via email but the Division would never ask for authorisation of an address via email.
- Where the client or agent has implied they wish to correspond with us via email, an authorisation email will be sent prior to any further response from the Division. Once the client or agent has sent the authorisation back to the Division we will update our records to indicate their authority and save a copy of the email for reference.
- Where queries have been received and responses sent via email to a client, copies of correspondence will be held on file for reference.
- Where an officer does not feel it appropriate to seek email authorisation and/or the response warrants the issue of a letter, the client or agent will be advised that a response will be sent via post or online (if the user is signed up to Online Tax Services).
For further information on the policy please contact Mr Gerard Higgins on +44 1624 685324.