The death of the Hansard approach
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Article by Stephen Camm, tax investigations partner, and Kevin Hall, tax investigations manager, PwC. This article appeared in the November 2005 issue of Tax Adviser. On 1 September 2005, after 82 years, HMRC formally announced the death of the Hansard approach as a method to tackle cases of serious fraud. It was an early victim of the Inland Revenue's merger with HM Customs & Excise. Hansard was the procedure used to underpin the Board of Inland Revenue's selective prosecution policy and offered tax evaders the opportunity to avoid a possible prison sentence in return for a full confession and payment of tax, interest and penalties. The arrangement enabled the Revenue to collect a lot of tax while having to carry out relatively few detailed investigations.
The Revenue attributed Hansard's success to two key features: the non-disclosure of the reason why serious fraud was suspected, and the threat of prosecution should the process not be taken seriously.
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