What is Code of Practice 9
The Code of Practice 9 document is issued by HMRC as as part of its Contractual Disclosure Facility. This itself is often referred to as the CDF.
COP9 is only used by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service (“FIS”).
It should be noted that one may only use the CDF Facility – meaning that COP9 may only be issued – where HMRC has its suspicions that the taxpayer has committed serious tax evasion.
The COP9 letter
The COP9 letter envisages two main potential outcomes from their correspondence:
- The individual accepts that they made deliberately failed to declare the full amount of tax on their returns; or
- The individual does not accept (a denial) that they have done so.
The taxpayer should respond accordingly after obtaining appropriate advice.
If the taxpayer fails to respond within to HMRC then they will be assumed to have denied any deliberate non-disclosure
The document then goes into the process of completing the relevant forms for the participation in the contractual disclosure facility and making, what HMRC term, the outline disclosure (which is an overview of the tax issues).
COP 9 meeting with HMRC
As a general rule, where a taxpayer engages in the process then HMRC will expect the taxpayer to meet with them to discuss the case in more detail.
The taxpayer should engage an appropriately qualified professional adviser, who has experience of COP9 proceedings in good time ahead of any potential meeting with HMRC.
That adviser should prepare a full and detailed report in to the taxpayer’s affairs that have given rise to the tax irregularities.
COP9 letter – Summary
As you will be aware, Code of Practice 9 is only engaged where HMRC suspects that a taxpayer has committed serious tax evasion. It is a serious matter.
With that in mind, on receipt of receiving a COP9 letter, the taxpayer should instruct an appropriately qualified specialist to deal with the matter.
If you or your client have received a COP9 letter from HMRC, or have any queries about COP9 at all, then please do get in touch.