Exempt Information

October 31st, 2023 by James Goudie KC

Section 44 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA) contains an absolute exemption from disclosure. Indeed it prohibits disclosure. The circumstances include when disclosure is “prohibited by or under any enactment”. Sections 17-23 inclusive of the Commissioners for Revenue and Customs Act 2003 (the 2003 Act) relate to Information. Section 17 is concerned with use of information, Section 18 with confidentiality, Section 19 with wrongful disclosure, Section 20 with public interest disclosure, Section 21 with disclosure to prosecuting authority, Section 22 with data protection, and Section 23 with freedom of information. Disclosure is prohibited of revenue and customs information if the disclosure would specify the identity of the person to whom the information relates, or would enable the identity of such a person to be deduced. In STITT v INFORMATION COMMISSIONER (2023) UK FTT 887 (GRC) the FTT held that the Valuation Office Agency was right to have withheld information it held that related to council tax valuation bands. This includes the address, relevant local authority and bands for each property in England and Wales. Disclosure would enable identification of the person to whom the information related.

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