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HMRC internal manual

Technical Teams Operational Guidance

Code 9 cases registered prior to 1/9/05 (Hansard): Historical Record: the opening Hansard meeting: deceased taxpayers

Hansard should be read to the Personal Representatives of a deceased person where there is suspicion that either they were involved in the original fraud or have dishonestly sought to conceal it. In these circumstances the meeting should proceed along normal lines the only modification being that the Personal Representatives should be asked to respond to the formal Questions as individuals in their own right and also, separately, as the Personal Representatives of the deceased. They can be asked the factual and business side questions as in a normal case, responses being sought to the best of their knowledge and belief, where they relate to the deceased.

Where the Personal Representatives are not suspected of fraud the opening meeting must be more extensively modified. The Personal Representatives can be told that if the deceased was alive that he or she would have been referred to the Hansard Statement. They can be shown the Hansard Statement. It should be made clear that it is not being applied to the Personal Representatives as individuals but that they are expected to respond to the best of their knowledge or belief. It may not be necessary to read the Hansard Statement out aloud, but it will be appropriate to remind the Personal Representatives of the seriousness of what they are being asked and that false statements may render them liable to prosecution.

In the event of a disclosure, whether complicity of the Personal Representatives is suspected or not, matters can proceed as in the normal case. Where a disclosure is suspected of being materially false or incomplete there will be an additional problem. Unless the Personal Representatives actually knew the disclosure to be false or incomplete prosecution will not be able to proceed.

Similarly in the event of a failure to disclose serious irregularities prosecution will not be able to proceed unless it can be shown that the Personal Representatives gave intentionally false answers. Where this cannot be done the case will have to proceed formally to establish civil liability unless there is a belated acceptance and negotiation.

Where personal representations are not suspected of involvement in the fraud or of dishonestly concealing it, tape recording the meeting and reading the caution will be inappropriate.