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HMRC internal manual

Fraud Civil Investigation Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
, see all updates

Where CDF offer is made 30 June 2014 onwards: pre-authorisation review and action: deceased persons

As a deceased person cannot make an admission of deliberate conduct, or a disclosure, it is not appropriate to issue COP9 where the only person suspected of fraud is dead. An alternative method of investigation should be considered to establish and assess any tax arrears and interest.

The position regarding partnerships or companies, where one partner or director dies but others remain, may be less clear-cut. If it seems that the deceased person was the only party who acted fraudulently, and you have good reason to believe that the surviving parties have nothing to admit or disclose, then it will not be appropriate to issue COP9. However, if it is possible that the surviving parties were complicit, then they may be offered COP9.

You will need to think carefully about the effect of the conduct of any survivor on penalty loadings.

Penalties may not be imposed on deceased persons, see EM1395.

In cases where a person dies after having made a disclosure of irregularities under COP9, penalties cannot be pursued unless they have been formally assessed or determined and become final prior to the date of death. Any assessment on the personal representatives should be made in accordance with the statutory time limits in S40 TMA70.

You should consult your Team Leader if you are in any doubt about how you should proceed and in any case where this becomes an issue.