A7.421 HMRC codes of practice and guidance
HMRC publish Codes of Practice (COP) which describe how particular areas of work will be conducted. The codes give taxpayers a commitment to standards of consistency and fairness and also advise how to complain and obtain redress.
The Fraud Investigation Service operates under its own codes of practice:
• COP8 where fraud is not suspected
• COP9 for cases of suspected fraud
The codes of practice apply to the tax affairs of individuals, partnerships, limited liability partnerships (LLPs), companies and trusts and covers all of the taxes, duties, levies and contributions for which HMRC is responsible.
COP8 (Code of Practice 8)
HMRC's Code of Practice 8 can be found on GOV.UK.
The type of cases worked by FIS under COP8 are, in general, cases involving suspected avoidance where a substantial amount of direct or indirect tax is at risk, but where fraud is not thought to have occurred. COP8 applies to all investigations where the Contractual Disclosure Facilities under Code of Practice 9 are not used (see below). HMRC will not undertake an investigation under COP8 with a view to a criminal prosecution. However if during the course of the investigation HMRC suspect or find evidence of fraud then the investigation will be dealt with under COP9 (see below) and a criminal prosecution may be the outcome of such an investigation. It will usually be difficult to justify moving an investigation from Code 8 to Code 9 solely by reason of a reappraisal of