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What is HMRC's Guidance on serious fraud?

What is HMRC's Guidance on serious fraud?

Mike Wakeford

HMRC’s Code of Practice 9 (COP9) leaflet outlines the procedures for any investigations into serious fraud by HMRC. COP9 covers both direct and indirect taxes and includes confirmation from HMRC that taxpayers will be treated fairly and courteously. Investigations of this type by HMRC are designed to ascertain the full facts of a case and to collect any tax liabilities, penalties and interest deemed owing in cases of fraudulent conduct.

The notice makes it clear that HMRC will only act where they suspect tax fraud has taken place. However, whilst they accept that there may be an innocent explanation for the suspected fraud, HMRC will investigate their suspicions with or without the taxpayer’s co-operation

Where taxpayers do not co-operate HMRC may:
  • start their investigation which may ultimately become a criminal investigation;
  • get information about a taxpayer's financial and business affairs from third parties;
  • take formal action including raising assessments for the tax and interest they consider is due;
  • charge significantly higher penalties;
  • start legal proceedings to secure some or all of the taxpayer’s assets; and
  • require financial security from the taxpayer against certain unpaid taxes and duties.
If you are concerned about serious tax fraud and need to speak to an adviser about your situation, we have tax team who can help you with your situation. our team will be able to give you advice so you don't find yourself in a situation where HMRC are investigating you for serious tax fraud.