Code of Practice 9 (COP 9) & Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF)

Janes Solicitors are regularly instructed by individuals and companies who are seeking advice following notice of a COP 9 enquiry.  Often the first time you will hear of a Code of Practice 9 (COP 9) Procedure is when you receive the letter from the HMRC telling you are under suspicion for serious tax fraud and your business is under investigation.

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Basis of an investigation under COP 9

If HMRC suspects that there has been a “serious” loss of tax as a result of tax fraud or tax evasion (ie. in a deliberate attempt to evade tax) then they will open the tax investigation under Code of Practice 9 (unless it is one of they decide that the case is so serious that the taxpayer should be prosecuted without being given the opportunity offered under COP9).

Under the procedure set out in Code of Practice 9 the taxpayer has two options:

  • Admit to deliberate conduct amounting to tax fraud and enter into a Contractual Disclosure Facility agreement with HMRC
  • Deny the allegation that tax fraud has taken place (in such instances HMRC may commence a criminal investigation which may result in criminal proceedings in which it will be for them to prove that tax fraud has been committed – should this happen Janes Solicitors can advise and represent you in such proceedings)

Janes Solicitors are able to advise you on the best approach to follow.

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Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF)

If Deliberate fraudulent conduct is admitted a Contractual Disclosure Facility agreement with HMRC is entered into. Under the CDF procedure the taxpayer is given the opportunity to make a complete disclosure to HMRC of all the tax frauds that have taken place, in return for immunity from prosecution. Choosing this option will result in a financial settlement being reached with HMRC.

Under the CDF procedure the taxpayer is required to provide HMRC with an outline disclosure setting out all of the areas where tax fraud has taken place at the outset.  The taxpayer is given 60 days to prepare the outline disclosure from the date they were offered the opportunity to participate in the CDF procedure.  Immunity from prosecution is only extended to the areas covered in the outline disclosure. If there are any material omissions from the outline disclosure, HMRC reserve the right to prosecute.

The next stage of this type of tax investigation could involve a formal meeting with HMRC. During the meeting HMRC will seek further detail in respect of the outline disclosure provided, as well as the taxpayer’s personal and business affairs. The taxpayer will generally be required to attend this meeting and Janes Solicitors will attend with you.

After this the taxpayer is expected to commission a report, to be prepared by their tax adviser, which sets out in detail the taxes underpaid and provides as much evidence as possible to demonstrate that the figures now disclosed are, as far as possible, correct.

Janes Solicitors will advise you on the best approach.

Speak to one of our team straight away if you have received a COP9 letter, for responsive and pragmatic legal advice. Any investigation procedure by the authorities can be highly stressful and debilitating to your business, and it is vital you seek legal advice early.  Janes Solicitors will advise you so you know exactly where you stand, and how best to proceed at every stage.

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Contact our expert tax fraud defence lawyers

Janes Solicitors provides bespoke specialist advice on all areas of serious and complex fraud, regulatory, taxation and serious financial crime matters. With extensive experience in all areas of fraud and financial crime and a well-earned reputation as leaders in our field, our expert defence team take a proactive and pragmatic approach to legal advice and case strategy. We are committed to your successful outcome.  Janes Solicitors pride ourselves on our case tailored approach for each client in and our fearless commitment in each and every case we undertake.

If you or your business have concerns, are under suspicion or investigation or have been arrested or prosecuted for any serious fraud or financial crime offence, contact us today. We are there when you need us.

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Need advice? Call us now.
020 7930 5100
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