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HMRC internal manual

Technical Teams Operational Guidance

Civil Investigation of Fraud (Code 9): historical record: managing the disclosure process: timescale for submission of disclosure report

If it is clear at the opening meeting who will prepare the disclosure report, the investigator should endeavour to agree a timescale for its submission. There is no fixed period.

A very simple case (simplicity and size are quite distinct) may require only a short period - perhaps even weeks - for a perfectly adequate report to be produced.

Most cases will be more complex and inevitably require longer. We should always seek a timetable of 6 months or less. But there can be no hard and fast rule. Each case must be considered on its merits. A lot depends on whether the concerns under investigation relate to direct tax, indirect tax or both. Investigators must listen to any representations made by taxpayers and/or their advisers. A reasonable approach must be taken so that it is not possible for a taxpayer to subsequently argue that their incomplete disclosure was brought about by the unreasonable deadline set by HMRC.

Past experience has shown that clear tight timetables of between 3 months and up to 6 months enable the cases to proceed effectively and swiftly.

It will be exceptional to agree a timescale for a disclosure report that goes beyond 6 months.  

In those cases where no indication of the nature or quantum of the disclosure has been given at the opening meeting Investigators should be particularly aware of the need to monitor progress carefully. This will also be the case where all that is disclosed at the opening meeting are matters previously disclosed to the Local Compliance Office.

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