What do you do if you get a COP9 letter from HMRC

What is a COP 9 letter from HMRC Receiving a COP9 letter from HMRC is a significant event that should never be ignored or taken lightly. It indicates that HMRC has suspicions of tax fraud and intends to conduct an in-depth investigation into your tax affairs.

Ignoring the letter will not make the matter go away; in fact, HMRC can proceed with or without your cooperation.

The crucial aspect of a COP9 letter is that it offers the opportunity to enter into the Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF), whereby you can make a detailed and thorough disclosure of the tax irregularities within 60 days of receiving the letter.

Cooperating under the CDF provides the benefit of immunity from criminal prosecution. However, accepting a COP9 letter means admitting guilt for deliberate tax fraud, so it is essential to seek professional advice to understand the implications, navigate the process effectively, and ensure that the disclosure is accurate and comprehensive.

What is a COP 9 letter from HMRC

A COP9 letter from HMRC is a significant communication that indicates the initiation of a Code of Practice 9 (COP9) investigation. This type of investigation is conducted when HMRC suspects deliberate tax fraud or evasion in an individual’s or business’s tax affairs. The COP9 letter serves as an invitation for the taxpayer to participate in the Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF).

By accepting the CDF offer and cooperating with HMRC, the taxpayer can make a full and detailed disclosure of any tax irregularities within a specified timeframe. In return for this disclosure, HMRC provides assurance that the taxpayer will not face criminal prosecution for the disclosed tax fraud.

However, it is crucial to seek professional advice upon receiving a COP9 letter to fully understand the implications, ensure compliance with the disclosure requirements, and effectively manage the investigation process.

Reasons for receiving a Cop 9 letter

Receiving a COP9 letter from HMRC indicates that they suspect deliberate tax fraud or evasion in an individual’s or business’s tax affairs. There are several reasons why someone might receive a COP9 letter, including:

  1. Failure to disclose tax liabilities: If HMRC believes that you have intentionally failed to disclose your tax obligations, such as undeclared income or assets, they may initiate a COP9 investigation.
  2. Misrepresentation of tax affairs: Providing false or misleading information regarding your tax affairs can trigger a COP9 investigation. This includes deliberately manipulating financial records, inflating deductions, or underreporting income.
  3. Withholding or concealing relevant facts: Intentionally hiding or withholding pertinent information from HMRC, such as offshore accounts or assets, can lead to suspicions of tax fraud and the issuance of a COP9 letter.

Receiving a COP9 letter is a serious matter, and it is important to seek professional advice and understand the implications. Engaging with the Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF) offers the opportunity to make a full and detailed disclosure of any tax irregularities within a specific timeframe, potentially mitigating the risk of criminal prosecution.

However, it is crucial to comply with the disclosure requirements and cooperate fully with HMRC throughout the investigation process.

What should I do next?

If you find yourself in a situation where you believe you have acted fraudulently, it is crucial to prioritize honesty. However, we strongly recommend seeking the assistance of a legal representative to handle the matter on your behalf. This is because navigating the complexities of making disclosures to HMRC requires expertise and precision.

Failing to meet their demands could potentially lead to accusations of breaching the contractual terms and may result in a criminal investigation.

On the other hand, if you are innocent and confident that you have not committed tax fraud, it may feel like a challenging situation. You may be unable to cooperate with HMRC, despite your willingness, as you believe you have done nothing wrong. In such cases, it becomes crucial to provide a well-crafted explanation of your actions.


In conclusion, receiving a COP9 letter from HMRC is a serious matter that requires careful consideration and appropriate action. Whether you believe you have committed tax fraud or are innocent of any wrongdoing, seeking professional assistance is essential to navigate the complexities of the investigation process.

Consulting with a legal representative who specializes in tax matters can provide invaluable guidance, ensuring that your rights are protected and the best course of action is taken.

To take the first step towards seeking assistance, I encourage you to complete the online enquiry form to connect with experienced professionals who can provide the support and expertise needed during this challenging time.

Remember, addressing the situation promptly and with expert help can make a significant difference in managing the COP9 investigation effectively.

David Hanman Consultant Solicitor

David is a Solicitor and Chartered Tax Advisor. David has many years experience of advising clients on Regulatory Fraud matters, involving the smallest to the very biggest cases.

He regularly lectures to the City of London Police on these and related issues. He regularly advises on Confiscation and other consequences that flow from money laundering offences