Criminal investigations policy
It is HMRC’s stated policy to deal with fraud by use of the cost effective civil fraud investigation procedures under Code of practice 9 wherever appropriate. The Criminal Investigations Policy will followed in cases where HMRC needs to send a strong deterrent message or where the conduct involved is such that only a criminal sanction is appropriate.
HMRC reserves complete discretion to conduct a criminal investigation in any case and to carry out these investigations across a range of offences and in all the areas for which the Commissioners of HMRC have responsibility.
There are certain fiscal offences where HMRC will not usually adopt the civil fraud investigation procedures under COP9, for example:
These include cases where:
One factor that will be key in determining whether a criminal investigation is undertaken or not is whether the taxpayer(s) has made a complete and unprompted disclosure of the offences committed.