Interventions: compliance routes: VAT: Assessments and Criminal Investigation Cases
While assessments should not normally be delayed pending the outcome of a Criminal Investigation / Prosecution, there may be occasions when SI may intentionally put revenue at risk by choosing not to assess at a particular time, for example where doing so could alert the trader to HMRC’s interest and jeopardise an on-going CI Operation.
Assessments could go out of time during this period and any such decision to allow this to happen should only be made in very exceptional circumstances. In these circumstances there is a ‘Risk to Revenue’ Process in place to support such decisions which must be followed. This process provides a proper audit trail which must show how HMRC arrived at the conscious decision to allow an assessment go out of time. Assessments must not be allowed to go out of time by default.
Any decision must be authorised at the correct level dependent on its value, with the decision to do so made following liaison between SI and CI. This means that if for example the monetary level means a case needs to be signed off at DD level then the relevant operational DD in SI (Tamsin Woodeson or Mark Sheridan) will liaise with their DD counterpart in CI to reach a joint decision on how to proceed. The guidance and sign off levels are in theCriminal Justice Procedure Guidance. The current levels are: Assistant Director up to £500,000, Deputy Director up to £2,000,000 and Director up to £5,000,000.
If you are aware of any cases where this has been or could be an issue then you must bring the case to the immediate attention of your SI AD and ensure that the proper audit trail and authorisation is in place. If you have any queries, please contact Karen Cummins at SI Luton.