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Labelling HMRC document types

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Browse, Content, Taxonomy

User research has highlighted some weaknesses in how we currently label documents on GOV.UK. This is particularly apparent for specialist users of HMRC content.

We use labels on GOV.UK like publications, guidance and announcements whereas professionals who are searching for a piece of HMRC guidance are often going to be looking for labels such as VAT Notice or Business Brief.

Alice Newton of the specialist team in GDS has blogged about this problem on the Inside Government blog.  Meanwhile the HMRC transition team in GDS  have been working with our colleagues in HMRC to analyse the different types of documents and labels that have special meaning in the world of tax and HMRC.

We are proposing a  list of document labels that are familiar to users of HMRC content and will be used for search and navigation across GOV.UK.

For example, if you are looking at a VAT Notice, the page will be labelled as a VAT notice and there will be a link to see all the other VAT Notices. It will also mean that eventually you should be able to search for and filter by the type of document you are looking for, such as viewing all of the Statements of Practice, or searching for a text string within only documents of a certain type, such as searching only within the Business Briefs.

Proposed document types for HMRC content

We have produced a first  draft list of document types that we would like your feedback on (see below). Have we missed any types of documents that you frequently use, or is there anything that you think shouldn't be in this list?

If you would like to see more detailed analysis, you can look at our analysis of content types stored in a Google Sheet. Please comment and mark with your name so that we can track the comments.

  • Administrative Agreement
  • Budget Note
  • Bulletin
  • Business brief
  • Business Update
  • CFSP Information Paper
  • Code of practice
  • Consultation
  • Customs Information Paper (CIP)
  • Disclosure Facility
  • Draft Legislation
  • Extra Statutory Concession
  • Factsheet
  • Form
  • Glossary
  • Guidance
  • Guide
  • Helpsheet
  • Leaflet
  • News
  • Newsletter
  • Note
  • Notice
  • Overview of tax legislation and rates (OOTLAR)
  • Practice Note
  • Press notice
  • Press release
  • Revenue & Customs Brief
  • Revenue Interpretations
  • Statement
  • Statement of practice
  • Statutory Guidance
  • Tariff Notice
  • Tax Bulletin
  • Tax information exchange agreements (TIEA)
  • Technical Note
  • Tax Impact & Information Notice (TIIN)
  • Toolkit
  • Treaty
  • User guide
  • VAT Information Sheet
  • VAT Note
  • VAT Notice

Addendum 12/3/2014: We haven't included the HMRC Manuals in the list above. They are definitely specific labels we should use on the site but they aren't included in this analysis as they will form part of a new publishing system for the HMRC Manuals that we will be delivering later this year.

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  1. Comment by Kate Willis posted on

    Explanatory Note(s) might be another one

    • Replies to Kate Willis>

      Comment by Stephen Edwards posted on

      Good spot Kate. Many thanks. We thought about EN's and then mistakenly missed them off. We were uncertain as to whether they should be on GOV.UK or published only on The reality is that they are published on GOV.UK even if they perhaps shouldn't be, so we've added them to the list for now. Importantly, they are a label which is relevant to any department/content, just as consultations are, and not just to tax.

  2. Comment by Helen Hardy posted on

    Agree on Explanatory Notes.
    There is rather a mixture here between those specific to HMRC and those relevant to any context. While things like 'consultation' have a clearly understood government meaning, If using a terms like 'Bulletin', it will be important to understand whether these have the same meaning across all departments that use them. It may be clearer to distinguish e.g. 'Tax Bulletin'.
    On a common sense basis, I would not know how to distinguish between a 'guide', a 'user guide' and 'guidance' without more information, nor between a 'business brief' and a 'business update'. I think what I'm saying is that each term should have a very clear meaning, whether that is specific to HMRC or more general.

    • Replies to Helen Hardy>

      Comment by Stephen Edwards posted on

      There is a mixture! As you say, some types have a clear meaning across all Government, such as "consultations" (and they already exist on GOV.UK). Others have a particular meaning only in the world of tax or HMRC such as "VAT Notice". In the middle ground there is some uncertainty and some in the list above that we could probably remove - which would you remove? The user need we are trying to meet is to be able to see a list of documents of a type so that a user can browse through that list and see other documents of the same type. Guidance is a catch-all category and could replace the existing content-types on GOV.UK that are 'Guidance" and (the longer form version) "Detailed Guidance".

  3. Comment by Lynne Poyser posted on

    What about summary of responses - or is that covered by consultations?

  4. Comment by Julie White posted on

    I don't know if 'Statutory Instruments' should be included?

  5. Comment by Anon posted on

    1) Statutory Instrument
    2) Regulations, e.g. PAYE Regs

    • Replies to Anon>

      Comment by claireharrington posted on

      Statutory Instruments did not appear on the HMRC site before (except occasionally in draft) and they appear on, so technically they are not going to be moving over as part of the HMRC transition to GOV.UK. However, as Stephen's response to Kate Willis indicates, these are items which apply throughout Government and not just to tax and, in reality, are also published on GOV.UK; therefore we will add them to the spreadsheet (albeit starred and in red).

  6. Comment by Tax Partners posted on

    Average foreign exchange rates; frequently used for cross border transactions in VAT, CGT transactions etc. Could there be a separate link??

  7. Comment by Jill Springbett posted on

    I think the above correspondence points up the large number of different documents published by HMRC. I for one would appreciate a guide to what they are, so I know the possibilities for doing a search by document type. For example what is the difference between a Press notice and a Press release?

  8. Comment by Peter Tilley posted on

    Just a few to add to the list Excise Information Sheets, Tariff Quota Notices, Public Notices & Rates be they rates of Income Tax, rates of exchange, interest rates and whatever other rates we publish - several for Excise.

    • Replies to Peter Tilley>

      Comment by Peter Tilley posted on

      Forgot about ADD measures (ADD is Anti-Dumping Duty)

  9. Comment by Robert Hartley posted on

    Settlement Opportunity
    Change Of Policy


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