Where CDF offer is made up to 29 June 2014: managing the detailed disclosure process: scoping meetings and progress meetings
As soon as possible after the initial meeting (and usually on the same day), it is expected that the professional adviser who has been commissioned to produce the disclosure report will agree to hold a scoping meeting. The taxpayer should be encouraged to attend so that they are involved in the process from the start, and also understand:
- the parameters of the disclosure report
- the requirement to provide information to their agent promptly and
- the timetable for submitting the report.
The scoping meeting plays a crucial role in managing the final disclosure process. It gives everyone involved time to reflect on what was said or, in some cases, disclosed at the meeting, check understanding of some of the key issues, flag up potential difficulties in obtaining documents etc and then agree a course of action. In appropriate cases this includes agreeing what further meetings are required to check on the progress being made with the Report.
The adviser should be told that they should start working on the report immediately. For example they should start working on collecting the information required to complete the Statement of assets and liabilities, the certificate of bank accounts operated and certificate of credit cards operated during the period that the fraud has been going on. You will expect to see what progress has been made when you return for the first progress meeting.
The scoping meeting and subsequent progress meetings not only act as an early warning system if things are not going to the agreed timetable (see FCIM107010 and TTOG4415) or the taxpayer withdraws his co-operation, they also provide a source of regular contact with the professional adviser so that any common areas of difficulty can be addressed quickly and appropriately.
The intention at these meetings is to be helpful, by HMRC, the taxpayer and the adviser working collaboratively towards a full, complete and accurate disclosure at the earliest opportunity. It is in no one’s interest that a disclosure report is delayed or that plainly unnecessary work is undertaken. Your aim must be to get actively involved in the reporting process and where it is necessary you can assist the agent to obtain information that they can not get. (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
The aim should be that when the report is complete nothing within it should come as a surprise. To ensure that there is nothing unexpected, whilst the report is being compiled you should be looking for:
- regular access to the agent’s working papers
- details of any further disclosures that are going to be made in the report.
As mentioned above you must take a collaborative approach to the production of the report. For example, where the taxpayer and/or their adviser can not obtain any documents or information that is required then you should consider offering to assist in getting this and, in appropriate cases, that might involve using formal powers. Best practice is to get this information before the report is completed - rather than waiting until after it has been completed.
During the time that the agent is working on the report you must not undertake any investigation of your own, including using any formal powers, without the taxpayer or their adviser having agreed to this in advance.