The functions of Special Civil Investigations (SCI) are to investigate:-
referring cases to the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO) to be considered for prosecution where appropriate.
Prior to their merger to form HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise had their own procedures for investigating serious fraud. The approaches differed, however, in one important respect. The Customs and Excise Civil Evasion procedures were recognised by the courts as civil proceedings. The Inland Revenue Hansard procedures, on the other hand, were held by the Court of Appeal to be criminal proceedings. Following the decision in R v Gill, Hansard interviews were held under caution and recorded.
The new Hansard approach that evolved after R v Gill was not considered to be satisfactory and the opportunity has been taken, with the merger of the Revenue and Customs, to introduce a common Civil Investigations of Fraud (CIF) procedure for HMRC for both direct and indirect tax investigations. The new procedures apply to all investigations started after 1st September 2005. The old Hansard procedures and Customs Notice 730 will continue to apply to any investigations started before that date. A new code of practice, Code of Practice 9 (2005), has been issued explaining the new procedures.
Since the merger, the Revenue’s Special Compliance Office (SCO) and the Law Enforcement Investigation section of Customs have been combined in a new HMRC office, Special Civil Investigations (SCI). In the first instance, the new CIF procedure was used only by SCI. From 1st July 2006 new teams of specially trained officers were formed by HMRC in Local Compliance and National Compliance to use the new CIF procedure.
Local Compliance teams operate out of:-
National Compliance has a capability within the Labour Providers Unit and in the Special Trade Investigation Unit. SCI will continue to investigate the very largest cases and the new CIF teams will only investigate those cases not undertaken by SCI. The application of the CIF procedure will be the same whoever uses it and will be subject to quality control by HMRC.