Criminal Tax Investigation
Criminal investigation, with a view to prosecution by the Crown Prosecution Service, is an important part of HMRC’s overall enforcement strategy.
Criminal Investigation will be reserved for cases where HMRC needs to send a strong deterrent message or where the conduct involved is such that only a criminal sanction is appropriate. However, HMRC reserves complete discretion to conduct a criminal investigation in any case and to carry out these investigations across a range of offences and in all the areas for which the Commissioners of HMRC have responsibility.
Examples where HMRC will consider a criminal investigation
- Cases of organised criminal gangs attacking the tax system or systematic frauds where losses represent a serious threat to the tax base, including conspiracy.
- Where an individual holds a position of trust or responsibility.
- Where materially false statements are made or materially false documents are provided in the course of a civil investigation.
- Where pursuing an avoidance scheme, reliance is placed on a false or altered document or such reliance or material facts are misrepresented to enhance the credibility of a scheme.
- Where deliberate concealment, deception, conspiracy or corruption is suspected.
- Cases involving the use of false or forged documents.
- In cases involving importation or exportation breaching prohibitions and restrictions.
- Cases involving money laundering with the particular focus on advisers, accountants, solicitors and others acting in a ‘professional’ capacity who provide the means to put tainted money out of reach of law enforcement.
- Where the perpetrator has committed previous offences there is a repeated course of unlawful conduct or previous civil action.
- Cases involving theft, misuse or unlawful destruction of HMRC documents.
- Where there is evidence of an assault on, threats to, or the impersonation of HMRC officials.
- Where there is a link to suspected wider criminality, whether domestic or international, involving offences, not under the administration of HMRC.
When considering whether a case should be investigated under the CDF procedures or is the subject of a criminal investigation, one factor to be considered is whether the taxpayer has made a complete and unprompted disclosure of the offences committed.