Contractual Disclosure Facility or Code of Practice 9 (“CDF” or “COP9”)
An investigation under the Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF) or Code of Practice 9 (COP9) – both of which are the same – is the highest level of non-criminal investigation that HMRC conduct.
It is an extremely serious type of HMRC-investigation and should not be taken lightly. It covers not just “tax” in the normal sense, but extends to cover any duty whatsoever that HMRC has control and management or supervisory powers over. As a result it is far ranging and anyone subject to such an HMRC challenge must address their behaviour against any and all of the duties that HMRC control under the threat, from HMRC, of possible serious consequences.
Because of that, we always advocate that expert HMRC-handling advice, from professionals steeped in such experience, is sought at the very outset.
A CDF or COP9 investigation is how HMRC deal with cases of suspected tax fraud. Where HMRC merely suspect you have committed tax fraud, they will contact you under the CDF process and ask you to initially disclose in outline your fraud by completing their contract.
The outline contract is a formal agreement between you and HMRC saying what you’ve done wrong, if you have. In exchange for your full disclosure, your cooperation and your full financial settlement HMRC agree at the start of the process to dispense with any criminal investigation, prosecution or sanction for any fraud disclosed. Your cooperation must last throughout the disclosure investigation. Your cooperation will include appointing an investigation specialist to produce a “disclosure report” of all tax failures for you to provide HMRC with the full picture. HMRC impose tight deadlines on filing this report and failing to adhere to these deadlines can lead to HMRC withdrawing the opportunity and beginning a detailed investigation into your affairs, which could include criminal action.
If you have received a CDF or COP9 letter you only have 60 days to respond with your written outline disclosure – with no extensions! We would strongly suggest that you must seek expert advice at the start as this is the most crucial stage.
A CDF or COP9 investigation is serious and is often stressful. Whilst HMRC may make it intrusive and prolonged, we work with clients to avoid that. As former COP9 Inspectors within HMRC, we have an unrivalled record of successfully dealing with HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, which is the specialist Department within HMRC who deal with CDF and COP9 work.
Even where we have not been involved from the very start, our involvement will give “fresh eyes” to such investigations and we will navigate a conclusion. As well as direct client investigations, we have a long track record helping independent accountants through this process and they often value our “helping hand” approach, helping them through such an investigation if they feel able to tackle most of it.
The CDF or COP9 route is also available if you have not paid all your taxes and want to bring your affairs up to date voluntarily. We often help people to undertake this approach and HMRC actively encourage people to follow this route if they know they have failures which need to be remedied.
We do though strongly advocate expert advice before approaching HMRC under the CDF or COP9 process as it is serious. Having won awards from industry groups for the way in which we handle, specifically, COP9 investigations, we are ideally placed to offer clear minded, pragmatic advice and are available to assist.
How can we help
We have been dealing with HMRC related troubles for a combined period of over 150 years, having dealt with hundreds of cases both as former HMRC Investigators and assisting and supporting clients in our time in practice. Our clients tell us that they value our extensive knowledge and genuine "hands on" accessible and no nonsense approach to any matter involving HMRC and disputes and difficulties with them.
We operate nationally, or internationally, and are not tied to our desks.
We believe in giving a clear and no nonsense level of support with affordable fees and costs. Our pricing structure is affordable, and we will fix budgets for our engagements avoiding the traditional open-ended, "on the clock" approach of larger firms and our competitors.
To discuss this with us on a non-judgemental, discrete and no-cost basis call our helpline 0800 001 6686 or contact us today.
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