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HMRC internal manual

Technical Teams Operational Guidance

Civil Investigation of Fraud (Code 9): historical record: the opening meeting: inviting the taxpayer's response to the formal questions

It is a matter of judgement and something that will differ depending on the circumstances of each case how this vitally important part of the meeting is dealt with. If it is clear that the taxpayer understands the CIF procedure and that a competent and experienced adviser is assisting him or her to make a full disclosure matters can proceed directly to the taxpayer completing written responses to the questions.

If the taxpayer is unrepresented and/or states that he does not fully understand the CIF procedure, he must be allowed to take whatever time is necessary to allow him fully to understand the position and make a considered response.

In inviting a response to the formal questions, some general points may be made:

  • The taxpayer is not under any compulsion to answer the questions.
  • The questions are straightforward questions which are capable of yes/no answers.
  • How the questions are answered is a matter for the taxpayer to decide.
  • The questions are without limit of time and refer to any income or gains received or arising either individually or in association with others.
  • The questions address the taxpayer’s worldwide position.
  • The questions should be answered by the taxpayer to the best of his or her knowledge and belief.
  • HMRC would not be referring the questions to the taxpayer if it had reason to suspect only trivial irregularities. Whilst no allegations are being made the taxpayer should consider this carefully before formally responding to the questions.