HMRC Announces New Facility To Tackle Serious Tax Fraud
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will introduce tougher procedures for civil fraud investigations later this month, the department has announced.
As part of the Government’s commitment to tackle fraud, HMRC’s new Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF) will be launched on 31 January 2012, and follows consultation with interested parties in the autumn.
Under the new facility, HMRC will contact a taxpayer, in writing, to inform them that they are suspected of serious tax fraud, and offer them the opportunity to enter into a contract to disclose that fraud within 60 days. In return, HMRC will agree not to criminally investigate, removing the risk of prosecution by HMRC. The investigation will then be carried out using civil powers, with a view to a civil settlement for tax, interest and a financial penalty.
Those who choose not to make this commitment will face a full investigation by HMRC – in some cases a criminal investigation with a view to prosecution. And anyone who signs the contract, but does not go on to admit and disclose fraud, will also face the possibility of a criminal investigation.
Taxpayers who are not under investigation, but who want to admit to tax fraud, may fill out a form to voluntarily request that HMRC consider their suitability for a CDF contractual arrangement. HMRC still retains the discretion to decide which cases are dealt with civilly, and which are investigated with a view to criminal prosecution.
Launching the Contractual Disclosure Facility, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, David Gauke, said:
“This new facility is a valuable tool which will help HMRC in its fight against fraud. HMRC will set out clearly what is expected of taxpayers, and what will happen to fraudsters who choose not to disclose their crimes.”
Further information on the changes is available on the HMRC website atwww.hmrc.gov.uk/admittingfraud
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