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HMRC internal manual

Fraud Civil Investigation Manual

Where CDF offer is made up to 29 June 2014: the initial meeting: breaks to be taken in a meeting

The conduct of any meetings has to be such that a taxpayer cannot subsequently claim that they only made an admission because of being over-tired by the length of the meeting, the absence of refreshment, or the time elapsed since a meal.

At the outset, if you have not done so already, establish what time is available and plan the meeting to allow comfort breaks at regular intervals.

The Investigator should at the start of a meeting tell the taxpayer and adviser to call a break whenever they wish. It is best practice to offer breaks even though the taxpayer has indicated that none are necessary.

The Investigator should remind the taxpayer of this during the meeting and should make sure that the taxpayer does get regular refreshment and has the opportunity for meal and comfort breaks. As a general guide you should seek to offer a break every 90 to 120 minutes to avoid lengthy meetings appearing oppressive.

Everything said about breaks, and whether or not a break was taken, must be fully recorded in the meeting notes. At the end of the meeting make sure that you ask the taxpayer if they have any comments about the meeting. For example, about the way they have been treated and how it has been conducted.