HMRC Criminal and Civil Investigations

Even during the current Covid-19 pandemic, HMRC have not made any announcements that they are placing a hold on criminal and civil investigations.  Current investigations are still moving, and HMRC officers continue to take action. Letters opening a civil or criminal HMRC investigation should still be treated with priority. If you have received one, it is important to take legal advice as to how to respond given many firms and individuals are operating with significantly reduced resources.

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HMRC Criminal and Civil InvestigationsIf you have received an HMRC criminal investigation letter, it means you are suspected of tax fraud. If you wish to argue your innocence, you must pursue the matter in court.

At Altion Law, we provide advice to those who have received an HMRC criminal investigation letter. We can explain what it means and what your options are. These are often time sensitive and complex matters. We strongly advise you to contact us as a matter of urgency so that we can explain your legal rights and options.

For a confidential free discussion, call us today on 01908 414990,  alternatively emails us at or complete our Free Enquiry Form and we will call you back.

HMRC Criminal or Civil Investigation?

When HMRC suspects tax fraud, it conducts either a Civil Investigation or a Criminal Investigation. It is HMRC’s policy to pursue a criminal investigation, if:

  • It wishes to send a strong deterrent message
  • Or believes the alleged conduct warrants a criminal sanction.

If you receive a notice relating to COP9 – Contractual Disclosure Facility Process, this relates to a Civil Investigation. You can find more detail around the timescales and processes at our separate dedicated page HMRC COP9 Investigations.

HMRC criminal investigations are on the rise and a number are underway into misuse of HMRC Covid Support Funds. ‘Serious’ means the alleged fraud is worth £50,000 or more. To help HMRC achieve this goal, it has been given specific Criminal Investigation powers.

These Criminal Investigation Powers Include

  • Applying for Court Orders, requiring information to be produced
  • Applying for, and executing, search warrants
  • Searching suspects and premises
  • Recovering criminal assets
  • Making arrests

HMRC cannot decide whether to prosecute an individual – it can only investigate. The final decision to prosecute lies with Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

Altion Law can assist you if you are concerned about a potential HMRC criminal or civil  prosecution.

For a confidential free discussion, call us today on 01908 414990,  alternatively emails us at or complete our Free Enquiry Form and we will call you back.


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