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HMRC internal manual

Fraud Civil Investigation Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Where CDF offer is made up to 29 June 2014: general: impact of the Human Rights Act 1998 on civil procedures for dealing with fraud

Within the procedure HMRC explicitly states that the decision to adopt the approach and provide information is entirely voluntary on the part of the taxpayer, ensuring compliance with the Human Rights Act Article 6 (HRA).

In deciding the application of the Human Rights Act 1998 to civil procedures for dealing with fraud cases, the Courts have taken a consistent view in terms of the range of available penalties for both direct and indirect taxes.

In the case of Commissioners of Customs and Excise v Han and another and other appeals (2001) STC 1188 the Court of Appeal held that the Customs civil penalty for fraud and the Inland Revenue “Hansard” procedure for investigating alleged fraud with the view to imposition of a civil penalty were criminal proceedings for the purposes of Article 6 of the European Convention of Human Rights, notwithstanding that both were civil proceedings in UK law.

In simple terms the taxpayer is entitled to the safeguards of Article 6: Right to a Fair Trial, in any investigation carried out under COP9. This has a number of significant implications for the operation of COP9. Safeguards are inherent within this procedure to ensure compliance with the Human Rights Act. Any specific safeguards will be explained within the parts of the guidance relevant to the particular aspect of the procedures to which the safeguard applies.