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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: managing the detailed disclosure process: timescale for submission of detailed disclosure report

If it is clear at the initial meeting who will be preparing the disclosure report, the investigator should try to agree a timescale for its submission. There is no fixed period.

A very detailed report is not necessary in every case. For example, in a very simple case (simplicity and size are quite distinct) this may require only a short period - perhaps even weeks - for a perfectly adequate report to be produced.

Most cases will be more complex and inevitably require longer. We should always seek a timetable of six months or less. However, each case must be considered on its merits. A lot depends on whether the concerns under investigation relate to direct tax, indirect tax or both. Investigators must listen to any representations made by taxpayers and/or their advisers. A reasonable approach must be taken so that it is not possible for a taxpayer to subsequently argue that their incomplete disclosure was brought about by the unreasonable deadline set by HMRC.

Past experience has shown that clear tight timetables of between three months and up to six months enable the cases to proceed effectively and swiftly.

It will be exceptional to agree a timescale for a disclosure report that goes beyond six months and this should only be done with the written agreement of your Authorising Officer.

There will be cases where nothing more than a very general indication of the nature and/or quantum of the irregularities has been given in the Outline Disclosure. Additionally the taxpayer might not have been able to give any more information at any subsequent meeting where this has been discussed. In this type of situation Investigators should be particularly aware of the need to monitor progress very closely. This will also be the case where all that is disclosed in an Outline Disclosure and any subsequent meeting, are matters previously disclosed to the Local Compliance Office, and you suspect that the taxpayer is understating the true extent of the problem.