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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Dishonest tax agents: conduct notice: overview

When we have gathered evidence of dishonesty and determined that a tax agent has engaged in dishonest conduct, see CH181120, we can issue a conduct notice, which contains our determination that there has been dishonest conduct. An authorised officer, see CH881400, must approve the decision to issue a conduct notice.

A person can appeal against our determination that they have acted dishonestly. Our determination is notified to that person in the conduct notice.

If the person notifies their appeal to the tribunal the tribunal may confirm or set aside our determination. If the tribunal sets aside the determination, this does not prevent us from issuing a further conduct notice in respect of the same conduct if further evidence emerges.

A person commits an offence when they conceal, destroy or otherwise dispose of ‘material documents’ after we issue a conduct notice, or after we advise that we are likely to issue a conduct notice.

‘Material documents’ are any documents that we can seek under a file access notice, see CH182200, and are the tax agent’s working papers and other documents used in assisting clients with their tax affairs.

The offence of concealing, destroying or otherwise disposing of material documents can apply to both the tax agent and any other person who might reasonably be expected to know of the notice. No offence is committed where a third party was not aware that we had issued a conduct notice when they concealed, destroyed or otherwise disposed of the material documents.

FA12/SCH38/PARAS 4 - 6