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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Information & Inspection Powers: Penalties: Other penalty issues: Criminal proceedings for concealing, destroying or disposing of a document

This page applies for notices issued

  • on or after 1 April 2009 under FA08/Sch36, or
  • on or after 1 April 2011 under CEMA79/S118.

Where you consider that criminal proceeding may be appropriate you must submit a report to FIS through the Evasion Referral process, see CH402180.

Criminal proceedings may be appropriate where

  • the information notice was issued with the approval of the tribunal, or it was your intention to seek approval, and
  • any document required by, or to be included in, the notice has been concealed, destroyed or otherwise disposed of.

Criminal proceedings do not apply where a person destroys a document

  • that has been produced to you following an information notice, unless you have advised them in writing that it must be kept. If you decide at a later date that the original document need no longer be kept you must tell the person, or
  • more than 6 months have passed since you last notified them that the document may be included in an information notice and it has not been included in a notice, or
  • more than 6 months have passed since they produced a copy of the document in response to an information notice and you have not asked them in writing to produce the original.

Where criminal proceedings have been taken the person will be liable

  • on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum, or
  • on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment to a term not exceeding 2 years or to a fine, or both.