HMRC has updated its code of practice that provides taxpayers with an opportunity to bring their UK tax affairs up to date on a civil basis, as opposed to criminal basis.
Code of Practice 9 (COP9) gives taxpayers the opportunity to admit tax fraud and pay tax they owe, plus any related penalties. In return, HMRC will not pursue a criminal investigation into the behaviour the taxpayer discloses. The refreshed COP is part of a wider push to re-establish COP9 as HMRC’s primary civil investigation tool in tackling tax fraud.
The updated COP9:
- makes it clear to the recipient that the contractual disclosure facility (CDF) is the way to take advantage of the COP as an alternative to a criminal investigation; and
- resets the terms of the CDF contract to make sure the recipient is clear on exactly what they are signing up to, HMRC’s expectations throughout the investigation, and the serious consequences of their non-compliance.
New sections added to the COP:
- emphasise the different circumstances when a COP9 case can escalate to a criminal investigation and ultimately to prosecution;
- clarify when COP9 can cover fraud in respect of HMRC functions not involving tax; and
- set out what HMRC can do if the COP9 recipient rescinds their admission of deliberate behaviour after they have accepted the CDF offer.
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