The report should include with a clear and concise schedule of the irregularities for each period for each tax (cross referenced to the area of the report where more detail can be found). Without this, HMRC may deem the report incomplete.
‘Grey’ areas need also be clearly identified and summarised where relevant. Leaving these in the main body of the report for HMRC to find will not help the client’s case. Where relevant documentation is no longer available, or there is insufficient information on which to base a decision, this should be highlighted and explained, together with the reasoning behind any conclusions reached.
Once the report is prepared, it should be reviewed in detail with the client, prior to submission to Special Civil Investigations (SCI). The client needs to be aware that he is ultimately responsible for the contents of the report (and thus for any omissions or inaccuracies) and also to be announcing their prosecution policy subsequent to the introduction of the Civil Investigation of Fraud (CIF) procedure, HMRC stated that:-
‘The threat of prosecution is only lifted in respect of the tax fraud itself. Having been given the opportunity to make a complete disclosure, the taxpayer who, in the course of a civil investigation, makes materially false statements or provides materially false documents with the intention to deceive will still face the possibility of criminal prosecution. The prosecution would, however, be in respect of the deceitful conduct.’
The client will be required to sign a certificate formally adopting the contents of the report.