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Feefo Gold Merchant

Experts in Self Employment Tax


​Code of Practice 9 (COP9)

Schedule 36 Notices
Contact Qdos Contractor:0116 269 0999

Tax Guidance


Code of Practice 9

In cases where HMRC believes there are errors or irregularities in your tax affairs, HMRC may open an investigation under Code of Practice 9 (COP9).

Anyone who receives a COP9 letter is given the opportunity by HMRC to fully disclose to them details of all their deliberate and non-deliberate conduct that has led to errors and/or irregularities in their tax affairs.

In any cases where HMRC suspects that a full and detailed disclosure has not been made, they may commence a criminal investigation that can lead to prosecution.

​What happens in a COP9 Investigation?


If an individual accepts HMRC’s offer to make a full and detailed disclosure of all their deliberate and non-deliberate conduct they would need to do so under a contractual arrangement called a Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF) which was introduced on 31 January 2012.

Under the CDF an individual is given 60 days by HMRC in which to decide whether they wish to admit to committing tax fraud and disclose any loss of tax that has been caused by their deliberate behaviour, or to reject the offer.

The individual decides to admit tax fraud

If the individual decides to admit to tax fraud, they will need to complete the following two stages:

  • They will need to submit a report called an Outline Disclosure to HMRC setting out the deliberate behaviour that caused the loss of tax
  • They will need to submit a certified statement that they have made a full and accurate disclosure of any and all tax irregularities, together with certified statements of all bank accounts and credit cards that they have operated

It is extremely important that the individual makes a full and complete disclosure, as only those irregularities included in the Outline Disclosure will be immune from potential prosecution.

If only a partial disclosure is made, then the individual runs the real risk that HMRC will commence a criminal investigation into any suspected tax fraud.

The individual makes a voluntary disclosure

An individual can if they so choose make a voluntary disclosure to HMRC using the CDF and if HMRC decides to accept the disclosure then HMRC will want to discuss the irregularities and why they arose, agree timescales for information to be provided and if deemed necessary request that a disclosure report is completed.

The individual rejects the offer of using the CDF

If an individual receives a COP9 letter but does not accept that any tax loss that may have arisen was brought about by their deliberate behaviour, then they are perfectly entitled to sign and return the CDF rejection letter.

On receipt of the CDF rejection letter, HMRC will commence its own investigation into the individual’s tax affairs and this could be in the form of a criminal investigation. HMRC can also use the rejection letter as evidence in any court or tribunal proceedings that they undertake.


Why Might You Receive A Code of Practice 9 Investigation Letter?


A COP9 investigation can be started in two different ways:

  • HMRC hold information that leads them to believe that an individual may have committed tax fraud
  • An individual makes a voluntary disclosure to HMRC and based on the information provided HMRC decides to open an investigation under COP9

Managing Serious Defaulters


If a penalty is charged by HMRC for a deliberate error then they at their discretion may decide to monitor/review the individuals tax affairs going forward more closely under the managing serious defaulters regime.  This monitoring process can last between 2 to 5 years and as part of the process HMRC can make announced and unannounced visits to your business and carry out checks into your tax affairs.

HMRC may also decide to publish the details of the individual who has committed tax fraud.

​What happens when the investigation is complete?


If following their investigation, HMRC decides that tax has been lost and that there are further liabilities to pay, then it will use formal powers and raise tax assessments to recover the tax lost, they will also look to charge interest and penalties on any additional liabilities. 

Penalties in these type of cases can be charged in amounts up to 200% of the tax lost, however, these can be mitigated/reduced by HMRC based on the behaviours of the individual during the investigation.

​How can Qdos help?


Qdos Contractor has a wealth of experience in this specialist area.  The Tax Consultancy team is made up of experienced tax professionals and ex-HMRC Inspectors.  They specialise in assisting individuals who are in receipt of a COP9 letter or who wish to make a voluntary disclosure to HMRC.  They have a proven track record of successfully resolving disputes and have built up a wealth of experience in this specialist area. 

For further information and how we can assist you with issues surrounding tax enquiries, please contact [email protected]


The Company


About Us

Why Qdos?


Qdos Contractor are one of the leading providers of specialist contractor insurance services in the UK. Our online application process takes only a matter of minutes with all documentation issued instantly. Unlike many other brokers, we don’t hide our premiums until you've provided your details, as we are confident that our premiums, service and product are the best in the market. In addition, Qdos Contractor is one of the leading authorities on the IR35 legislation and have handled well over 1,500 IR35 enquiries on behalf of UK contractors.


Our History


Qdos began in 1988 as a tax consultancy business and has grown significantly over the past two decades, providing expert business services, products and advice. Over the years, Qdos has grown in both size and reputation as a trusted contractor insurance broker as well as an expert tax advisor. Our aim is to provide UK contractors with the assistance and service with IR35 issues they need as well as sustaining excellent quality and competitive premiums in the contractor insurance market.

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