EM0361 - Determine who can support the enquiry: Specialist Investigations: The Role of Specialist Investigations

Specialist Investigations (SI) investigates both direct and indirect taxes, involving tax avoidance and cases of suspected serious fraud that are dealt with under civil procedures.

Note: SI also investigates cases that are highly sensitive.

Addressing substantially non-compliant taxpayers is the primary role of SI. However it also has a responsibility to circulate the lessons it has learnt to the rest of HMRC.

To increase efficiency and meet HMRC requirements, SI works with other areas of HMRC, in particular

  • Anti Avoidance Group (AAG)
  • Large Business Service (LBS)
  • Corporation Tax & Value Added Tax (CT & VAT)
  • Local Compliance
  • Specialist PT
  • Risk and Intelligence Service

The type of case dealt with in these areas by SI include

  • cases where the Civil Investigation of Fraud (CIF) procedure is considered appropriate, see EM0362 
  • substantial investigations involving individuals, groups or companies with liabilities spread across the UK or with other special features (including cases involving marketed or bespoke avoidance schemes, which are worked jointly with SI under the avoidance handling process)
  • cases of exceptional difficulty or importance in the field of personal taxation
  • groups or classes of employees, or the self-employed where there is evidence of avoidance or fraud, or the existing machinery for discovery assessment and Self Assessment enquiry is inadequate
  • areas of general avoidance including offshore arrangements
  • avoidance and fraud arising from contrived liquidations, receivership, bankruptcy and informal methods of shedding tax liability
  • cases involving particularly complex or difficult records examination requiring accountancy expertise
  • cases where accounts, documents or returns have been falsified
  • cases which require extensive use of information powers, in particular where third party enquiries are needed
  • cross directorate avoidance projects, where SI take technical lead responsibility for the project.

You should draw the attention of SI to the enquiry time limit as well as the enquiry time limit for any returns which have been received, or which are received while SI has the file but have not yet become final or been subject to enquiry.

SI has built up a wealth of expertise in the

  • working of investigations
  • use of statutory powers, and
  • examination of records.

If you encounter difficulties in pursuing an investigation or in the examination of business records, you may contact your local SI office for advice.

For more information on the work of SI please see the individual teams’ home pages on the SI site.