Specialist investigation for fraud – COP 9

What is a COP 9?

Code of Practice (COP) 9 investigations are opened when HMRC suspects serious tax fraud. HMRC can go back 20 years.

COP 9 investigations are only opened when HMRC expects to reclaim substantial sums of money. COP 9 investigations are civil investigations, but failure to comply can result in a criminal investigation and prosecution.

Under code of practice 9, individuals are given immunity from prosecution in exchange for a full and complete disclosure of all irregularities in their personal and business tax affairs, via the Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF).

CDF Key Points:

Under the CDF, HMRC agrees not to criminally investigate and prosecute you over the fraud, but you will be required to agree to the terms of the CDF contract

By agreeing, you MUST:

  • Respond within 60 days – failure to do so will be treated as you declining the offer to disclose. A tax investigation will be opened and you will no longer be immune from prosecution
  • Tell HMRC about all the tax you have evaded, with no exceptions
  • Sign a statement to say you have provided accurate and complete details of the tax evasion
  • Pay all taxes, duties, interest and penalties due
  • Stop any evasion immediately

Where individuals decide to co-operate with HMRC, they will normally be invited to complete a Disclosure Report which will contain:

  • A brief business history
  • A description of all tax irregularities (including any innocent or careless errors) and how these  were carried out
  • Quantification of all the irregularities
  • Information to show how you quantified the irregularities and ensured that nothing had been missed
  • Summaries of tax and/or duties, interest and penalties due
  • A reconciliation of the irregularities with the summary of tax and/or duties
  • A certified statement of your worldwide assets and liabilities
  • Certificates of bank accounts and credit cards operated

HMRC encourages those under COP 9 investigation to appoint a professional adviser to guide them through the process and negotiate with HMRC on their behalf.  If you have been issued with a COP 9 notice it is because HMRC suspects you of serious tax fraud.

COP 9 investigations are intrusive and time consuming and can become stressful if they are not managed properly.

If you have been issued with a COP 9, you MUST take urgent action. Remember, you only have 60 days to respond so please seek help immediately by contacting us.