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HMRC internal manual

Compliance Handbook

Agent operational guidance: dishonest tax agents: establishing dishonest conduct: overview

If we decide not to pursue the criminal prosecution of a dishonest tax agent, the case will be referred to specialist officers in the Agent Compliance Team (ACT) who will follow the civil process set out in FA12/SCH38.

The evidence that we have gathered to establish that an individual has engaged in dishonest conduct as a tax agent will be set out in a conduct notice, see CH182140.

We must issue a conduct notice in order to charge a penalty for dishonest conduct and publish the details of a dishonest tax agent.

If we issue a conduct notice we can also make a public interest disclosure to the tax agent’s professional body, see CH881600.

A conduct notice must be given to an individual; it cannot be given to an organisation. We may need to investigate to find out which individual within an organisation was responsible for the dishonest conduct, see CH881200.

Before the individual is given a conduct notice we may decide to make an informal approach to them so that they can

  • make a full disclosure of the dishonesty
  • provide us with documents that we need to establish the full extent of the dishonesty, see CH881250.

As soon as we have reason to believe the individual has been involved in dishonest conduct we must tell them about their human rights, see CH881300.

The conduct notice must be approved by an authorised officer, see CH881400.

The recipient of a conduct notice has the right of appeal to HMRC, see CH881700.