Code of Practice 9 (COP9): Guidance from Tax Investigation Advisors
What Is a Code of Practice 9 (COP9) Investigation?
A COP9 investigation is one of the most serious types of tax investigation. A COP9 case is only one step down from a full criminal investigation. Therefore, it’s important to appoint a COP9 professional to aid you in the COP9 process as soon as possible.
Read our Testimonials
“They’ve been great”
“As a contractor, I started to use an avoidance scheme a few years back. With HMRC deciding the schemes weren’t viable I knew I needed to get things sorted. T M Sterling have helped me through the settlement documents and we’re now waiting on HMRC to sort things their end. They (T M Sterling Ltd.) have been great. There’s always someone to speak to.”- South Wales
``By far the friendliest``
“I instructed T M Sterling to represent me at Tribunal. It was a HMRC late appeal, which was several years out of date. It was my accountant that recommended I go with them and I’m glad he did. I was initially concerned that I live over 150 miles from them, but it was never a problem. We had Skye meetings, phone calls and regular updates. They were also really good about accepting payment over a few months and we’re by far the friendliest I’d spoken to. Tribunal ruled that my appeal should be allowed.”- East Midlands
``What a team!``
``I run quite a large company, so I’ve left some details out, but I’ll say that these guys are extremely knowledgeable about what they do. Following the sale of some shares, I was investigated by HMRC. HMRC stated that I owed £75k in taxes. Following a chat with T M Sterling, I decided to appeal to Tribunal. They represented me on the day and the Tribunal found in my favour. I wound up owing nothing to HMRC.``- South West
How Do I Know If HMRC Is Investigating Me?
If HMRC suspects someone of serious tax fraud, they will issue the taxpayer with a Code of Practice 9 notice. The taxpayer will then have 60 days to either deny the allegations — and therefore the offer of protection from prosecution — or admit to carrying out tax fraud. They will then be required to complete an “outline disclosure”, outlining their activities in general terms.
If you wish to disclose tax fraud, while protected from criminal prosecution, you can apply to HMRC under the “CDF” (contacted disclosure facility). Again, you will have 60 days to either accept or decline the contract once issued. You should not undertake this action without the guidance of a tax professional.
If you may wish to make a COP9 disclosure or have received a COP9 letter from HMRC, please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation with our tax investigation advisors.
How Long Will a COP9 Investigation/Disclosure Take?
Due to the individual and complex nature of Code of Practice 9 cases, this is almost impossible to answer. Some cases can take several months, some several years.
However, instructing a professional can not only help reduce the time required to complete the process but can also reduce the amount of stress and work required on the taxpayer’s behalf. For example, we undertake all dealings with HMRC and compile the final report on our client’s behalf. This means our clients simply need to provide the required information and “adopt” the report once completed.
What Will Happen If I Refuse the Offer of a Code of Practice 9 Disclosure?
Refusing HMRC’s offer to disclose under COP9 can have severe consequences. If you refuse the CDF (contractual disclosure facility) offer and HMRC subsequently uncover activity that is considered “serious tax fraud” they may pursue a criminal prosecution — potentially resulting in imprisonment.
You should never attempt to deliberately conceal information regarding unpaid tax liabilities
If you have any questions regarding your tax affairs, believe that you may wish to make a COP9 disclosure or have received a COP9 letter from HMRC, please contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation with tax investigation advisors. You have nothing to lose by getting in touch.