In June 2014 HMRC announced that the 'Denial' route for taxpayers facing a Code of Practice 9 Investigation (CoP 9) would be withdrawn.

COP 9 is a civil procedure used in selected cases where HMRC suspect tax fraud but do not wish to bring a criminal investigation. The taxpayer is given the opportunity to make a full disclosure under a contractual arrangement called a Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF). Taxpayers have 60 days to respond once an offer is made.

If the taxpayer accepts the CDF they admit the fraud and agree to fully co- operate with HMRC . In return there is no criminal prosecution. Penalties and interest apply.

Under the now-withdrawn Denial route a taxpayer was able to deny fraud, but would fully co-operate with HMRC during the investigation. Criminal prosecution was still possible but this allowed settlement in cases where the issue of fraud was something of a grey area.

The remaining route for a taxpayer is to refuse to co-operate and deny any fraud. A taxpayer taking this option improves his chances of criminal prosecution.

Removal of the Denial route makes COP9 CDFs black or white - you either confirm or deny fraud.

Links: HMRC COP 9