Special Investigations – Code of Practice 8 (COP8) SI – Code of Practice 8
Investigations (SI) is a specialist group of offices within HMRC which have the
task of investigating the most serious cases of
tax fraud and tax evasion. They also have
responsibility for investigating cases of tax ‘avoidance' under Code of
Practice 8 (COP8).
Investigations is HMRC's most senior, and generally experienced, investigating
body, and only becomes involved where there may be, in its view, a substantial
amount of tax, or a serious issue involved.
Dealing with a Special Investigations enquiry requires specialist
professional advice and careful handling, if your interests are to be properly
investigate any arrangements where HMRC believes that tax may have been inappropriately
avoided, as a result of tax planning arrangements which it considers contrary
to its interpretation of the law. Where it does so Code of Practice 8
(COP8) is issued.
enquiries are not restricted to the review of any planned ‘avoidance'
transactions, but they can often arise in other circumstances such as when a
person's residence in the UK, or the tax implications of interests held in
foreign entities, is being questioned.
potential range of enquiries undertaken by SI under COP8 is almost unlimited
and may be undertaken by SI where there is no allegation or suspicion of fraud
but where there is a suspicion of tax loss.
under COP8, by their very nature, can be difficult, complex and are often
contentious. Such investigations usually involve significant sums of tax either
on an individual case by case basis or by reference to a large number of cases
sharing the same planning arrangements.
Whichever way these investigations are viewed they are serious and should
be handled by practitioners who have significant experience of dealing with
such matters at this level.
increasingly concentrating resources on tackling avoidance particularly involving
offshore arrangements, misuse of pension schemes, offshore umbrella
arrangements and corporate avoidance.
Their actions can include raids and taking criminal prosecution action
where it considers that avoidance activities may demonstrate deliberate misrepresentation
of facts or falsification of documents.
any HMRC civil investigation there can be major financial benefits in properly
handling the disclosure of information and documentation to secure the maximum
mitigation of any penalties.
We have a
wealth of experience in assisting clients in dealing with enquiries carried out
by SI. If you would like to discuss how we might be able to help you, or
to arrange an initial meeting on a no cost/no obligation basis, please contact us
01283 761 777 or email us using our Email Enquiry Form.