Understanding HMRC Opening Letter

When you receive a letter from HMRC, it can be extremely worrying and confusing. However there are some clues to determine what the letter means.
The first is who the letter is from. If at the top right hand corner you see the words Contractual Disclosure Facility or Special Investigations - take a deep breath, it's serious, but if it’s handled properly, you will come out the other side. Then call us on the number below.
Tel: 020 7724 8824
If the letter refers to Code of Practice 8 cases, then HMRC suspect some form of complicated tax avoidance. There may be international or trust issues which the HMRC considers have not been correctly dealt with in returns submitted or you might have been part of a tax scheme that was sold to you some years earlier. You will almost certainly have been involved in some complex tax planning which is now being queried. These enquiries are very serious but there is no suspicion that you have been deliberately fraudulent.
If the letter refers to Code of Practice 9 then HMRC suspect serious fraud and their investigations are dealt with via the CDF.
This procedure is extremely formal and starts with a request to admit to the fraud which has taken place. Following this, there may be an interview with the tax payer. However if you admit to the fraud and co-operate fully there is still no risk of prosecution.
The investigation progresses with the submission of a formal report and finally, providing an undertaking that a full disclosure has been supplied.
The process usually takes about a year from start to finish, although this will depend on the availability of information and the complexity involved.

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Tel: 020 7724 8824