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Code of Practice 9: an overview
A Code of Practice 9 (often simply referred to as COP9) is a document issued by HMRC as part and parcel of its Contractual Disclosure Facility. This itself is often referred to as the CDF.
Code of Practice 9 is only by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service or FIS.
It should be noted that one may only use the CDF Facility (and therefore COP (may only be issued) where HMRC suspects serious tax evasion has taken place.
COP 9 will set out HMRC’s view on how one should complete the forms that form part of the CDF. In addition, it also sets out the investigative process that will be undertaken HMRC investigation into the serious tax evasion that it believes has taken place.
What is Code of Practice 9 – processes and protocols
In essence, COP9 sets out the processes and protocols that will be followed by HMRC where they suspect the requisite serious tax evasion has taken place
The key features of Code of Practice 9 are as follows:
|1. Last chance saloon||COP9 sets out that a person has one, and only one, chance to make a full and complete disclosure of all their tax non-compliance. It is the proverbial last chance saloon to come clean.|
|2. Admission||To take part in the COP9 process, an individual must make an admission that they have deliberately under declared all of their tax liabilities or over declared eligibility for a relief.|
|3. Non-deliberate errors to be disclosed||If the taxpayer has made any non-deliberate errors then these should also form part of the disclosure|
|4. What is meant by deliberate?||COP9 also sets out what HMRC means by ‘deliberate’. It means that the individual knew that, when they submitted them, they knew the tax return / accounting entries were incorrect.|
|5. Materially false statements||Where the taxpayer makes false statements as part of the disclosure then HMRC will consider their case to be put forward for prosecution|
|6. Protection from prosecution||Where full disclosure is made then the case will not be considered for prosecution.|
|7. 60-day time limit||The individual has 60 days from receipt of the offer to take part in the CDF in order to accept it.|
|8. Failure to respond in 60 days||If the relevant forms are not sent back within the 60-day period then HMRC will treat this as the individual stating that no deliberate errors have been made.|
What is Code of Practice 9 – Summary
Code of Practice 9 sets out the rules of engagement where HMRC suspects a taxpayer have committed serious tax evasion.
As such, it is a serious matter and one should not bury one’s head in the sand. Please get in touch if you need any assistance.
To view our Code of Practice 9 – Signpost please see here.
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.