Code of Practice 8: complex investigations

Code of Practice 8 enquiries involve complex matters, so it is crucial that you seek specialist advice from day one. Our tax dispute resolution team has decades of experience in dealing with HMRC in wide-ranging Code of Practice 8 enquiries. We’ll ensure your situation is represented fairly and the best possible outcome reached.

What is Code of Practice 8?

Where HMRC considers that a significant amount of tax has been lost due to tax avoidance, they use Code of Practice 8 to investigate the individual involved. These enquiries are conducted by HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, which is responsible for both civil and criminal investigations.

Dealing with HMRC’s procedures

If HMRC are investigating you under Code of Practice 8, you’ll receive a letter explaining the reason for the enquiry, enclosing a copy of the Code of Practice 8. Knowing how to respond to the letter in the first instance is vital – and that’s something that we can make sure you get right.

Next steps

In most cases, HMRC will invite you to a meeting. There is no statutory requirement for you to attend the meeting – it depends on what you want to achieve. There is no right or wrong action here as every case is different. We can advise you on the best course of action for your situation.

Meetings can often be constructive and may even result in the enquiry being dropped straightaway. We can attend the meeting with you, having first carefully reviewed recent events, tax planning and business interests.

It is understandable that sometimes you’ll feel intimidated or reluctant to discuss your affairs with HMRC for various reasons. That’s why we’re here: to take the strain so you don’t have to.

Potential outcomes

There is a danger that the Code of Practice 8 enquiry might uncover something that HMRC suspects could be deliberate or tax evasion. These enquiries often involve offshore assets or interests, such as trusts, companies and investments, and HMRC will want to check that the relevant taxes were correctly paid.

If HMRC starts to suspect the individual of deliberately understating or not declaring all their income or gains, it could elevate the matter to Code of Practice 9, suspected tax fraud or even instigate a criminal investigation with a view to prosecution. That’s why it is key that you seek professional advice to minimise the risks.

If you’d like to talk to us about a Code of Practice 8 investigation, don’t hesitate to get in touch with team lead, John Hood.

John Hood is Moore Kingston Smith’s tax dispute resolution specialist. He is expert at dealing with complex and serious tax investigations launched by HMRC, settling matters on a civil basis. In the most serious cases, this can involve limiting the risk of the enquiry being escalated to a criminal investigation. John genuinely relishes the challenge… Read more

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