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What is the COP9 investigation process?


How the HMRC tax investigation is handled where Code of Practice 9 is present is most important, as if dealt with badly an individual can get a dramatic increase in penalties. Poor handling can also result in an individual having their name published on the HMRC website for tax fraud.

In theory when the report is submitted HMRC will test this and if they are happy with the contents of the report then the enquiry will be closed. In most instances, the individual will then be placed under HMRC's managing serious defaulters programme or a couple of years.

If the individual denies that they have committed tax irregularities then HMRC will in theory conduct their own investigation into matters and at stages when information is received or obtained by HMRC using their many powers, the individual will continue to be considered as a prosecution case. Thus, it is equally important that the individual seeks professional representation to make sure that HMRC only do what the letter of the law allows and works with the individual to show their innocence to HMRC. It is probably more difficult to prove innocence than deal with matters where the individual has committed tax fraud.

This is because HMRC have decided that the individual has already committed tax fraud and therefore, although it says in Code of Practice 9 that the HMRC officer will keep an open mind, in many cases it is unfortunately shut.

Read more about Code of Practice 9 (COP9).

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Tax Investigation Specialist
Scott Gilbert, Partner and Tax Investigation Specialist

"We understand that people sometimes make mistakes in their dealings with HMRC and that HMRC make mistakes in dealing with taxpayers. Many people do not know how to deal with HMRC or who to turn to for help resolve the tax dispute.

Our firm of tax advisors specialise in resolving people's problems with HMRC. We have extensive expertise in dealing with all forms of tax investigations and tax disputes as well as with taking matters to the Tax Tribunal where agreement cannot be reached.

We deal both directly with the individual who is under enquiry and also work with many firms of accountants supporting them in dealing with HMRC disputes and advising them on how to handle HRMC to get the best result.

The fact is that proper management of HMRC is the best way of reducing the tax, interest and penalty as well as the time taken in resolving any tax dispute.

Our expert team are none judgemental and rigorously defend your position within the scope and parameter of the law. We take control and manage the process to minimise the interruptions that any form of tax investigation causes to an individual's life and business."

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