As guardians of the public purse, many cases involving allegations of fraud or wrongdoing are investigated and prosecuted by HMRC. From VAT reclaims, to allegations of cheating the revenue, HMRC have a wide ambit when looking into allegations of revenue irregularities, and our team, supported by tax experts, can assist in all aspects of HMRC investigations.
HMRC have the ability to adopt either a criminal investigation, or a civil procedure known as COP9.
Code of Practice 9 investigation procedure, (“COP9”), which can be issued where HMRC suspects that tax fraud has been committed. COP9 allows for a one-time offer from HMRC, which is known as the Contractual Disclosure Facility (“CDF”), and provides the recipient with immunity from criminal investigation and/or prosecution. In return, the subject must admit to acting dishonestly in deliberately failing to declare income, gains or duties, and must also agree to fully disclose all omissions and irregularities which may have arisen over the previous 20 years. There are additional penalties which are imposed on a percentage basis, but they are perhaps an unwelcome relief when compared to the prospect of a criminal prosecution and possible conviction. There is debate over the contradictory flaws in the procedure, as they are at odds with the requirement for a caution to be administered, and the departure from European convention laws which indicate that a suspect has a right to be notified of the nature and cause of the allegations against them. Notwithstanding these, COP9 notices can in some cases be a realistic alternative to a potential criminal investigation and conviction.
Where a criminal investigation is commenced, our expert knowledge of the range of offences which could be faced ensures a steely defence is out forward when required. We can assemble a team of financial and tax experts to deconstruct the case put forward by the prosecution, ensuring that the client is positioned as best as possible to achieve a favourable result.
No matter what the enquiry which may be received from HMRC may be, our team of experts are available to provide incisive advice and assistance on all matters.