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HMRC internal manual

Fraud Civil Investigation Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Where CDF offer is made 30 June 2014 onwards: general: general introduction to investigation of fraud

COP9 is HMRC’s main tool for investigating cases of suspected tax fraud using civil procedures. At certain points it also opens the possibility of a criminal investigation. This would be carried out by The Fraud Investigation Service (Crime), not using COP9 procedure.

COP9 applies once it has been issued to the customer, together with an offer of a contractual arrangement and a covering letter.

Once COP9 has been sent to the customer they will have 60 days from the day of receipt to choose one of two options. They can either:

  1. Fully cooperate with the process and accept the offer of a contract - The Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF).
  2. Formally reject the offer.

If the customer accepts the offer they will have to produce an Outline Disclosure within the same 60 day period, using the form in SEES forms and letters. This should contain

  • a brief description of the frauds they have committed
  • a formal admission of deliberately bringing about a loss of tax
  • any non fraudulent irregularities, and
  • any proposals for a payment on account.

If the Outline Disclosure is accepted, In more straight forward cases, the customer will be required to make progress towards a formal disclosure. If no further detail is required, we should ask for a formal disclosure. In all cases, this will include a

  • Certificate of Full Disclosure (using the form in SEES forms and letters)
  • statement of assets and liabilities
  • certificate of bank accounts operated, and
  • certificate of debit and credit cards operated

Under the terms of the contract the customer will not be criminally investigated, with a view to prosecution by HMRC, for matters covered by the Outline Disclosure. The customer’s further cooperation is induced by the prospect of maximising the reductions for penalties.

If the customer rejects the offer or makes no response, then HMRC will have the option of starting a criminal investigation by referring the case back to FIS (Crime). In most cases though, HMRC will pursue a civil investigation.

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)