HMRC COP8 Tax Investigation

tax investigations and dispute resolution

We are often asked to act when individuals, companies, partnerships or Trusts become the subject of an HMRC enquiry.

We will always act diligently and professionally in managing what is often seen by the client to be a major and highly stressful inconvenience.

HMRC are allocating ever increasing resources to their investigation, prosecution and enquiry teams and the expectation is that those resources will continue to increase going forward.  We believe that HMRC will come under increasing pressure to raise considerably more funds through tax investigations, prosecution and enquiries as the Government attempts to repay the massive amounts of borrowing.


Tax specialists in dispute resolution

With the anticipated increase in tax controversy and HMRC disputes, there will be many individuals and companies who are currently represented by a tax adviser who is simply not able to deal with large, more serious tax investigations such as those conducted under Code of Practice 8 and more particularly Code of Practice 9 and that is where ABG’s specialist tax investigations team help.

We will work with you, and your existing tax advisers, if that is your preference to ensure the best possible outcome.


Specialist tax enquiries

HMRC’s framework is much wider than the average enquiry and includes –

  • S9A enquiries
  • Schedule 36 Information Notices and appeals
  • Counter Avoidance investigations
  • Fraud Investigation Service investigations – COP 8 and COP 9
  • Criminal Prosecution*

*Whilst ABG are not able to deal with criminal prosecutions we do have a long-standing relationship with criminal solicitors who can assist.


Code of Practice 8

Where COP 9 is not appropriate, for example where there is no discernible dishonesty, the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC may instead choose to investigate under Code of Practice 8.

Where HMRC suspect targeted and bespoke tax avoidance, large scale tax avoidance through marketed tax schemes for example, they will investigate. Under COP 8, HMRC lead and undertake the investigation, there is no contractual disclosure facility. 

During their investigation, if HMRC discover evidence of fraud and dishonesty, they can decide to prosecute – there is no guarantee of non-prosecution in COP 8 as there is in COP 9.

HMRC will usually request a meeting and the taxpayers response to that will be used as a measure of cooperation (important when considering penalties). 

Ahead of HMRC opening a COP 8 investigation, the Fraud Investigation Service will have already been looking at the taxpayer in detail. They would have looked at returns, accounts, claims and elections submitted by the taxpayer together with the information from the large variety of sources and will usually conduct a targeted investigation.

As a COP 8 investigation can convert into a criminal prosecution, it is vitally important that taxpayers subject to a COP 8 investigation seek specialist help as soon as possible.

If you would like to discuss how Arram Berlyn Gardner LLP could assist you please contact us on 020 7330 0000 or email


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“COP 8 offers no protection from prosecution and must therefore be conducted with specialist care. Getting a COP 8 investigation wrong can have a significant detrimental impact on a taxpayer. Always get specialist advice.”

Dion Laycock

Dion Laycock

Tax Director
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