Open Data User Group (ODUG) Response to HMRC data sharing consultation

Open Data User Group (ODUG) Response to HMRC data sharing consultation – September 2013

Last December ODUG made the case for the release of the UK Vat Register as Open Data. As a result, in July this year HMRC opened a consultation on Sharing and publishing data for public benefit. This consultation has just closed and the ODUG response is published below.

ODUG welcomes HMRC’s work in this area which has been open and collaborative and also gratefully acknowledges the support of the other stakeholders we have worked with in our response to the consultation. 

We fully endorse the need to safeguard against the release of private information in all areas and HMRC’s need to protect against the release of private data.

However, the key finding in our response to the consultation is that a European Consultation service, VIES already allows anyone to verify the validity of a VAT number issued by any EU Member State, on-line and free of charge. This sets a precedent for the release of address-level information against registered VAT numbers which, we believe, mitigates against any significant risk associated with HMRC choosing to release the same level of information in an Open UK VAT Register.

We look forward to HMRC’s response to this consultation and, hopefully, the release of an Open Vat Register for the UK in the near future. This will bring significant benefits to the economy, including an estimated benefit of £50 billion to UK PLC through improved access to funding for small businesses, also potential improvements in the the efficiency of tax collections to deliverinternal cost savings and greater tax revenue.

Heather SavoryChair ODUG


Data Requests

I have just spent an hour messing around trying to request a dataset. once submitted it says in red that I haven`t filled in the reason field or the data type requested. The thing is I filled all areas in and there is no specific field called reason, nor a field to ask for either a pdf or other type. This seems like another scam, I have a political party called 'The Democratic Realist Party' and need the data to accurately view where everything is going wrong with this crowd. I already know where it`s going wrong but need the data to show and prove my theory. This is yet another scam to openly hide everything by not allowing submissions. My email is admin@the if you have any advice, it would be much appreciated.

 Flag as offensive 


Hi Hammy,

If you are having issues with the data request form, I'd suggest visiting as commenting on a blog post probably won't get noticed by the team.

If the data you are after is very specific, have you tried making a FOI request to the relevant department?

The request mechanism on this site is a great way to request datasets and helps the Open Data User Group build a list of targets to work on with departments. However, if you need something urgently, contacting the relevant department directly may be more effective.

 Flag as offensive 

I enjoyed your article

I enjoyed your article
This article reminds me of one very similar article
Thank you for sharing

 Flag as offensive