The first indication that a taxpayer (and his adviser) will usually get that his case has been taken up for investigation by fraud investigators is an invitation by letter to attend an interview. The suggested venue for the meeting might be the local tax office, the adviser’s office, the business premises, or even the taxpayer’s home. The invitation will be accompanied by Code of Practice 9 (2005) (Code of Practice 8 in cases where serious fraud is not suspected). Where a code of practice is not enclosed, the adviser should be aware that this is a case where criminal prosecution is being considered. He should immediately obtain specialist legal advice.
There will invariably be two investigators at the opening interview, one of whom leads while the other takes notes. They are expected to be polite but they will aim to impress on the taxpayer the seriousness of the matter by avoiding small talk. However, once the formal challenge as to the accuracy of the returns and accounts has been made and the interview moves on to become an information-gathering exercise (with which the adviser will be more familiar from tax office investigations) the atmosphere will probably become somewhat less tense. This will be deliberate on the part of the investigators in the hope that the taxpayer will become talkative and so provide more information than he might otherwise.
Any geniality is, of course, something of an illusion because the substance of everything said will be noted and taken into account when the disclosure report is received