A7.420 What is HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service (FIS)?
HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service (FIS) is a specialist unit comprising of HMRC's specialist tax and criminal justice experts who deal with serious investigations. It combines the efforts of the previous Special Investigation Unit and the Criminal Investigations Unit which were both merged to form the FIS in August 2015. FIS carries out criminal and civil investigation and enforcement on a regional basis, and it includes a dedicated offshore team1.
FIS has a number of aims which include providing2:
• greater clarity about when HMRC should choose to carry out criminal or civil investigations, or both
• a joined-up approach to tackling tax fraud
As well as creating FIS, HMRC also created two new directorates:
• Individuals and Small Business Compliance, and
• Mid-Sized Business and Wealthy Compliance
These took over some of the activities previously undertaken by the Local Compliance and Specialist Personal Tax directorates, and align HMRC's response to both the individual and business tax affairs of wealthy individuals who are more likely to own or be associated with medium-sized businesses. It also allows HMRC to tackle risks across a larger population through joint working and data sharing.
Note that HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service deals with cases where there is a risk of significant loss to the Exchequer. This is distinct from the 'Single Fraud Investigation Service (SFIS)' which is a DWP initiative to counter fraud in the welfare benefit and tax credit system3.