Historically, HMRC investigated cases of tax fraud in the local compliance offices using the Civil Investigation of Fraud (CIF) teams. The CIF teams were tasked with investigating tax fraud using the Code of Practice 9 procedure (CoP9).
The transfer of the CIF investigators to local compliance reflects the policy decision made by HMRC to restrict the use of CoP9 to the Fraud Investigation Service, which combines both the civil and criminal investigation teams.
HMRC continue to strengthen their resources to target tax evasion. By transferring the CIF investigators into the local compliance teams HMRC hope to widen the knowledge and experience of its enquiry teams.
The recent criticism aimed at HMRC by the Public Accounts Committee for not prosecuting people believed to have deliberately evaded tax will undoubtedly lead to more criminal investigations and prosecutions. By focusing the investigation of tax evasion at a national level, HMRC hope to identify cases for criminal investigation at an early stage. Cases deemed to be unsuitable for criminal investigation will be investigated on a civil basis.