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HMRC internal manual

Fraud Civil Investigation Manual

Where CDF offer is made up to 29 June 2014: the initial meeting: purpose of the initial meeting

The purpose of any initial meeting could vary greatly, depending on the particular circumstances of each case.

The meeting could be to discuss:

  • an Outline Disclosure (where a CDF applies)
  • a denial that has been sent in response to COP9
  • non-cooperation.

Investigators should always make the purpose of the meeting clear to all parties and must keep the above in mind when they are preparing for any meeting.

Regardless of the type of situation that you are dealing with, where necessary, it is important that you can demonstrate you have an open mind. There will, however, be times where you will need to challenge the taxpayer about information that you have.

Where the taxpayer attends the meeting the Investigator has the task of making sure that the taxpayer is aware of the seriousness of a non-disclosure or a false or incomplete disclosure.

You should also note:

  • Establishing facts and the taxpayer’s behaviour are important features of any meeting. Where Investigators are discussing an Outline Disclosure they should recognise the difference between what has been disclosed to date in terms of the fraud and the quality of what the taxpayer discloses during the initial meeting in terms of any penalties that might be appropriate. Whilst the taxpayer may be able to earn full reduction for the quality of their disclosure, Investigators must consider the taxpayer’s behaviour in the context of what has happened to date. For example, if the case has been referred from elsewhere then the taxpayer may have already lost their opportunity to secure a full reduction for the quality of their disclosure. The taxpayer might well be one step closer to being included in the Publishing Details of Deliberate Defaulters (PDDD) programme.
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • Where the case has been referred by another office the taxpayer might have been interviewed previously. In which case you must be mindful that they might already have lost the opportunity to secure full reduction for disclosure, and there will be no escaping PDDD - even if they make a full admission of irregularities in response to COP9.

Where you are dealing with a denial or the taxpayer has declined to respond to your opening letter and COP9, it is important to remember that your suspicion of fraud may be misplaced. An open-minded approach must be taken; even the most convincing indicators of fraud may be capable of innocent explanation.