Fraud Investigation Service
The Fraud Investigation Service (FIS) branch of HMRC operates HMRC's Code of Practice 9 ("HMRC Investigations where we suspect tax fraud"), COP 8 (tax avoidance), the Offshore Coordination Unit, and the various Offshore Disclosure Facilities. FIS is considered the elite investigation arm of the tax authority and is mainly staffed by highly trained, experienced, high-flying investigators.
Code of practice 9 (‘cases where we suspect tax fraud’) explains the Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF). This is only used in cases where serious tax evasion is suspected. Tax avoidance (trying to pay less tax by using tax 'loopholes', such as marketed tax avoidance schemes) is dealt with by using Code of Practice 8. The FIS "tax fraud" teams dealing with Contractual Disclosure Facility cases (COP 9), and the "tax avoidance" teams dealing with COP8, are based in each of the UK’s major cities. The Offshore Disclosure Facility teams are based in Bootle, Birmingham, Leeds, London and Nottingham.
HMRC Fraud Investigation Service has a remit to deal with serious, new, unusual and complex situations; and tax fraud and tax avoidance linked to offshore banks, trusts, companies etc. It aims to only take on cases where the likely “yield” (of tax, interest and penalties) will be over £500,000. Many of HM Revenue & Customs' largest prosecutions started in FIS; many beginning as tax avoidance investigations rather than tax fraud enquiries. In Contractual Disclosure Facility cases (i.e. suspected tax fraud) where there is an outright denial; or failure to co-operate; or a materially incorrect disclosure; Fraud Investigation Service are likely to carry out intrusive and exhaustive investigations and then to impose large penalties - or to prosecute. If FIS is involved it means the taxman believes the case is serious, large and complex: and is going to lead to a large payment. Such enquiries can be very damaging; especially as many Fraud Investigation Service cases involve extensive 3rd party enquiries (e.g. visits by the taxman to banks, business suppliers, customers, ex-employees, internet service providers etc.).
FIS investigators have small case loads and lots of support staff (including qualified accountants recruited from professional firms, computer forensic experts, specialist solicitors etc.), allowing them to devote considerable resource to each case. Dealing with a Fraud Investigation Service enquiry without your own specialist tax support can be hazardous (e.g. the risk of Criminal Prosecution); very expensive (as the tax and penalties bill is likely to be much higher than necessary); and very time consuming. Penalties can be up to 200% of the extra tax they say is due, and in tax fraud cases the taxman may publicly "name and shame" anyone they feel has not co-operated properly.
How can Lynam Tax Investigation Experts help me?
Not all HMRC Fraud Investigation Service cases result in penalties, and a small number do not result in any extra tax. However, persuading the cynical and hard-bitten FIS investigators of this and, most crucially, gathering and presenting the evidence to do so, can be an arduous task. But it's one which we at Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have devoted our professional lives to.
If you, or your client, have received an HMRC Fraud Investigation Service Code Of Practice 8 or 9 then you need specialist help
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts HELP ME?
- Offshore Bank Disclosures
- Contractual Disclosure Facility/ COP9
- Appeals / Tribunal Hearings
- Tax Amnesty
- Fraud Investigation Service
- Rental Income Tax Enquiry
- Business Tax Enquiry
We specialise in managing all Tax Enquiry, Tax Disclosures & Tax Disputes with HMRC.
We will help you throughout the Tax Investigation or Disclosure and save you money, so you can concentrate on running your business and enjoying your private life.
For a helpful, sympathetic, confidential and no obligation discussion: