COP 9 tax investigations can be stressful, intrusive and prolonged

Specialist Investigations is the section of HMRC dealing with the most serious cases of suspected tax fraud. Their involvement should never be under-estimated.

If serious tax fraud is suspected by Specialist Investigations, you may be investigated under Code of Practice 9 (“COP 9”) with the offer of a Contractual Disclosure Facility (“CDF”). The CDF is important as it creates a contractual framework between HMRC and the taxpayer and sets out new rights and obligations on each party respectively. The key points are:

  • Contract in writing between HMRC and the taxpayer, under which the taxpayer agrees to make a full disclosure and provide continuing co-operation while matters are resolved in return for which HMRC agree not to pursue a criminal investigation
  • 60 day time limit on which to accept or reject (or indeed ignore) HMRC’s offer of a contract and, if accepted, to provide outline disclosure
  • Meeting with the taxpayer, his or her professional adviser and HMRC at which it can be decided whether additional formal disclosure is required

This meeting usually results in the requirement for a comprehensive report into your financial and taxation affairs addressing the areas of concern of HMRC. The report has the effect of focussing HMRC onto the key issues and moving the investigation into the settlement of any undeclared tax with interest and penalties.

COP 9 tax investigations can be stressful, intrusive and prolonged. That’s why it’s essential to have a specialist team on your side. If appropriate, the CDF can provide a framework to resolve matters. Our experience of working with Specialist Investigations will help you complete the process as quickly and painlessly as possible so that you can move on with the rest of your life.

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