DPP Business Tax

Code of Practice 9

If you are concerned about an HMRC tax investigation procedure that has been started, DPP Business & Tax can help you.

Whether you are planning to fill out a Code of Practice 9 (COP9) form in order to disclose details of tax evasion, or intend to fight allegations or HMRC tax penalties that come as the result of a COP9 investigation.

You can rely on our experienced legal team to support you throughout, from looking over all correspondence, representing you at interviews and helping you to gather evidence that may help to exonerate you or plead your innocence.

An HMRC tax investigation procedure known as Code of Practice 9 (or COP9) may be launched if it is believed that you have committed serious civil fraud, or have made false taxation reports with an eye to deliberately and dishonestly gain a significant illegal tax advantage.

Under COP9, the HMRC fraud investigation service will look into your accounts in great detail to discover whether or not any false information provided serves as part of purposeful fraudulent activity.

If the COP9 investigation concludes that this is the case, the subject of the said investigation is likely to face significant penalties.

It is vital that you get in touch with solicitors specialising in financial crime and fraud as soon as you become aware of any COP9 investigation against you.

COP9 Related Offences and Allegations

A COP9 investigation may be launched if you are suspected of:

  • Fraudulent income tax evasion
  • Fraudulent VAT evasion
  • Cheating the public revenue
  • Providing HMRC with false documents or information

Significant HMRC tax evasion penalties may apply if it is found that you are guilty of any of the above behaviours.

You will usually be invited to fill in a COP9 form as part of HMRC’s contractual disclosure facility, whereby you can admit to taxation fraud so that HMRC will not launch a criminal investigation against you.

If you fill in a COP9 form through HMRC’s contractual disclosure facility (CDF), you will be required to pay a civil settlement of the amount of tax owed, plus interest on that tax and any further penalties required. Doing so when you don’t believe you have done anything wrong may prove more costly than it is worth.

Frequently Asked Questions

How far back can HMRC go?

HMRC can usually investigate accounts and returns from as far back as 4 years, but if multiple returns have been submitted with mistakes, 6 years is acceptable.

For cases that are considered to represent deliberate tax evasion, it is possible for them to examine up to 20 years’ worth of activity.

How long does a tax investigation take?

The length of a tax investigation depends on the complexity of the matter at hand and the lengths to which the subject decides to “cooperate” by submitting a COP9 form to disclose activity amounting to tax evasion.

Usually, investigations can last anywhere between 3 and 18 months.

What prompts a tax investigation?

HMRC may begin an investigation after discovering irregular or apparently dishonest behaviour through their investigation platform “Connect”.

They may also respond to a report made by another individual accusing the subject of tax evasion.

On occasion, they may also select a number of businesses at random to investigate.

If you are facing HMRC tax investigation penalties contact DPP Business and Tax today. We will talk you through your case and decide on the best course of action. We will also provide superb support and assistance throughout the investigation.

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