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How to handle COP 9: our top nine steps

Speed read
The Code of Practice 9 (COP 9) process is a useful means, if used correctly, for a taxpayer to disclose tax fraud to HMRC. The process offers valuable assurances to both HMRC and taxpayers alike in the pursuit of settling cases of tax fraud. However all too often the process is badly handled and, in some cases, abused. Some key practical tips include: properly briefing clients for the opening meeting with HMRC to avoid any surprises; using scoping meetings to build a respectful (yet robust) working relationship with HMRC; keeping HMRC properly informed on progress; and ensuring the COP 9 report submitted is consistent with the scope originally agreed. Despite its critics, COP 9 appears to be here to stay and it remains a valuable process for those suspected of tax fraud or those who have a voluntary disclosure to make.

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