Where the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office decides to institute criminal proceedings (by way of laying information before a magistrate), the first the taxpayer will know of this is the receipt of a summons to appear in a magistrate’s court. In some cases, particularly where it is considered that the defendant is likely to abscond, an arrest warrant will be applied for and, if granted, the taxpayer will be arrested by a police constable. What the taxpayer is charged with depends on precisely what criminal offences he is alleged to have committed and this, in turn, governs whether he will be tried summarily in a magistrates court or, on indictment, in a crown court, usual charges are cheating the public revenue (common law) or under the Thefts Act, but can include charges of conspiracy, forgery, perjury, etc, as appropriate.
It was, for very many years, the Board’s policy that if criminal proceedings were brought against a person then, whether the person was convicted or acquitted, the Board would not also seek a civil monetary penalty (under the Taxes Acts). On 10th May 1988 the Bard issued a new statement of practice, SP 2/88, explaining when it would and would not seek a civil monetary penalty in cases where criminal proceedings have been instituted. SP 2/88 was superseded by Codes of Practice 8 and 9 and withdrawn by Tax Bulletin, Issue 81, when it was superseded by the HMRC Criminal Investigation Policy statement.