Cases conducted under the civil investigation of fraud provisions should always be handled by a tax investigation specialist, experienced in dealing with disclosures under Code of Practice 9. We cover some of the most frequently asked questions regarding civil investigation of fraud below.
WHICH HMRC DEPARTMENTS DEAL WITH SERIOUS TAX FRAUD?
Serious tax fraud is dealt with by specialist teams within HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service. HMRC will write to you in the first instance. The letter will:
- tell you that you are suspected of tax fraud
- offer you the opportunity to take part in the Contractual Disclosure Facility
- enclose a copy of the Code of Practice 9 procedures
WHAT SHOULD I DO NEXT
Remain calm and take advice from a specialist who has experience in dealing with civil investigation of fraud. Whichever tax investigation adviser you choose to represent you; should also be fully conversant with:
The Contractual Disclosure Facility
Procedures conducted under Code of Practice 9
Investigations conducted by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service
HMRC’s criminal prosecution policy
This may all seem rather obvious and perhaps even trite; but a calm and focused head is vital when approaching any procedure conducted under Code of Practice 9. You need to do your due diligence when deciding upon an instruction to act on your behalf. The experience and ability of your chose adviser will be key in securing the very best, tax compliant outcome. Mistakes on the other hand can have grave consequences. With the appropriate professional advice and a positive, front foot approach you will soon be free of worry and ready to get on with the rest of your life. Remember at this stage you are suspected of serious tax fraud, not necessarily guilty of it.
WILL HMRC PROSECUTE ME?
Civil investigation of fraud under Code of Practice 9 is a not a criminal procedure. HMRC are offering you an olive branch. The opportunity to disclose all tax irregularities to them as part of the Contractual Disclosure Facility. The CDF is a contract designed to give the taxpayer under investigation the opportunity to make a full and frank disclosure of all irregularities in his or her tax affairs. It will generally cover a specified period, of up to 20 years. Criminal prosecutions generally occur where the taxpayer decides to withhold information that subsequently gives rise to a material tax loss. In other words makes a partial or contaminated disclosure. You can read more about visiting the HMRC website at the link below
HMRC Criminal Prosecutions
WILL I HAVE TO ATTEND A MEETING?
Yes, as part of the COP 9 process you will be invited to attend a meeting with an HMRC investigator conducting civil investigation of fraud. The meeting will afford you with you an opportunity to explain your current tax position. HMRC will likely as you to commission a full written disclosure report detailing all tax irregularities over a specified period. This can be up to 20 years. You should always attend the meeting with your choice of specialist adviser. The meeting alone can be a fairly intense and demanding affair. Preparation is everything. If your adviser has past experience of dealing with civil investigation of fraud, COP 9 and the CDF then you are already in a good place. They will guide and support you through what can be a very stressful occasion.
WHAT RECORDS WILL I NEED?
That rather depends of the scale of the tax evasion involved. Your adviser may be able to agree the scope of the report that HMRC require. However, you should assume that your disclosure will need to cover all aspects of your tax affairs. It is vital that you gather together as much documentation and paperwork as you can, given that this will form the basis of your disclosure.
FINALLY REMEMBER IT IS YOUR DISCLOSURE
It is vital to remember that this is your disclosure. Even if you appoint a tax investigation specialist, the responsibility for declaring all your income and making your tax affairs transparent lies with you. You must never assume that your tax adviser will be responsible for any omissions or errors that subsequently give rise to a partial disclosure. To help here is a link to the Fraud Civil Investigations manuals as published by HMRC.
With decades of civil investigation of fraud experience covering COP9 and the CDF, Admiral Tax Investigations have the knowledge, ability and tactical awareness to successfully guide you through the COP 9 process. Call us on 0330 999 5000 . for a free, no commitment consultation.