Where CDF offer is made 30 June 2014 onwards: action following issue of Code of Practice 9: customer rejects the offer
Where the customer rejects the offer of a Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF) they will not be able to make a subsequent disclosure within the terms of the CDF offer nor will they have the assurance of HMRC not conducting a criminal investigation for any tax frauds that are subsequently disclosed or discovered.
Also, it is most unlikely that you will be able to fast track the investigation to an early settlement.
As soon as you receive the rejection, you should make sure you acknowledge receipt, using the standard letter in SEES. Do not wait until you receive a response from FIS (Crime).
If the rejection includes an acceptable explanation which indicates the original suspicion of fraud being unfounded then you must refer the case to the Authorising Officer with proposals for concluding the enquiry.
In all other cases you must refer the case back to FIS (Crime) for them to reconsider their earlier decision.
- If FIS (Crime) accepts the case they will advise on how matters will proceed.
- If they reject the case you must proceed with an investigation under COP9 and the case may be referred back to FIS (Crime) as your investigation evolves.
When you decide to investigate under COP9 it is important to establish how your investigation will proceed - this could be with or without the customer’s cooperation.
In some case it will be clear from the rejection letter that a customer wants to cooperate. A rejection of the offer does not necessarily mean that a customer will not cooperate with an investigation.
Following the clearance to continue from FIS (Crime) you must write to the customer, or their agent, using the standard letter in SEES, advising them of your decision. Unless it is already clear from any previous contact with the customer, or their agent, you must try to quickly establish
- any specific reasons in support of the rejection
- whether they intend to make a disclosure of non fraud irregularities.
Almost invariably, the customer should be invited to a meeting to discuss matters and reach agreement on how the investigation will proceed.
Where the rejection is as a result of no response to your offer from the customer (see FCIM204010), then the case should be referred back to FIS (Crime) to reconsider their earlier decision.
You must also inform the customer, using the standard letter in SEES that the offer has expired and HMRC will not be bound by the terms of the contract.