Investigator Training

Mark Bennett made this Freedom of Information request to HM Revenue and Customs

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

Can you please tell me the following:
1) Could you tell me how many hours of training does an HMRC employee engaged in TAX avoidance and investigation undertake take to enable them to understand reports and extrapolate relevant information from them that has bearing on the action to be taken.
2) Could you provide me with the training syllabus for them and the accreditation that it operates under if applicable.
3) Can you confirm that the reports submitted by claimants as evidence are used together with the report from the HMRC investigator in ALL decisions made.
4) Can you please inform me of what level the investigator is in the clerical scale i.e. admin or snr manager etc
5) Can you inform us how often the investigators are re trained or removed from the post due to errors of judgement where a court changes a decision based on incorrect assessment or interpretation by the HMRC
6) Can you please give details of the benchmarks used to decide on when an avoidance of TAX warrants court action or is deemed suitable for a mutual deal to be stuck as to the level of TAX is to be paid “The Sweetheart Deals”.
7)How much tax was lost last financial year to multinational companies who use legal loopholes to pay less tax

Yours faithfully,

Mark Bennett

foi.team@hmrc.gsi.gov.uk on behalf of FOI Central Team, HM Revenue and Customs

Our ref: FOI2017/01128

Dear Mark Bennett,

Freedom of Information Act 2000 Acknowledgement

Thank you for your communication of 17th June which has been passed to
HMRC's Freedom of Information Team.

We have allocated the above reference which you should quote if you need
to contact us.

The Team will arrange for a reply to be sent to you which will either
comply with HMRC's obligations under Freedom of Information Act or, if we
think it's an enquiry that we don't need to address under the terms of the
Act, let you know why. If it is the latter we will, if possible, pass it
on to a more appropriate part of the Department for answer.

Yours sincerely

HMRC Freedom of Information Act Team

Dear [email address] on behalf of FOI Central Team,

The Freedom of Information Act says:

A public authority must comply with section 1(1) promptly and in any event not later than the twentieth working day following the date of receipt.

The weekends are counted, and what happens if the request arrives out of office hours, is just that - detail. What matters here is that the law says authorities must respond promptly.

If you've got a good reason why the request is going to take a while to process, requesters find it really helpful if you can send a quick email with a sentence or two saying what is happening.

Yours sincerely,

Mark Bennett

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of HM Revenue and Customs's handling of my FOI request 'Investigator Training'.

This reply is well over due and there are NO legal reasons not to reply.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours faithfully,

Mark Bennett

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of HM Revenue and Customs's handling of my FOI request 'Investigator Training'.

THIS REQUEST IS NOW LEGALLY OVERDUE AND NEEDS URGENT ATTENTION !

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours faithfully,

Mark Bennett

HM Revenue and Customs

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Bennett,

Please find attached HMRC's response to your information request. I am
sorry for the delay in sending this to you.

Yours sincerely,

Freedom of Information Team

The information in this e-mail and any attachments is confidential and may
be subject to legal professional privilege. Unless you are the intended
recipient or his/her representative you are not authorised to, and must
not, read, copy, distribute, use or retain this message or any part of it.
If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender
immediately.

 

HM Revenue & Customs computer systems will be monitored and communications
carried on them recorded, to secure the effective operation of the system
and for lawful purposes.

 

The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs are not liable for any
personal views of the sender.

 

This e-mail may have been intercepted and its information altered.

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of HM Revenue and Customs's handling of my FOI request 'Investigator Training'.

The questions posed were very clear, and concise they require answers and your reply was not one which I feel should have been sent, as it was clearly an avoidance to answer reply.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours faithfully,

Mark Bennett

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of HM Revenue and Customs's handling of my FOI request 'Investigator Training'.

I asked for an internal review some time ago and you have chosen to ignore it, I will give you 14 days to provide the information requested under current legislation, then without further notice if it has not been provided in full, I will have to take further legal steps to obtain it from yourselves, this may include reporting the matter to the ICO for enforcement or other legal avenues that are open. This is neither professional nor legal actions by yourselves as your well aware. The 14 days to provide ALL information requested starts from the date of this request in being 04th February 2019.

Full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/i...

Yours faithfully,

Mark Bennett

Mark Bennett left an annotation ()

An internal review request was sent in but has been ignored, so a second internal review with a 14 day limit has been sent. This FOI is well over due and the initial response was basically a fob off. After 14 days I will escalate this request using either the ICO or legal system.

HM Revenue and Customs

1 Attachment

  • Attachment

    Request for information Ref IR2018 02711.html

    1K Download

Dear Mr Bennett,

 

Thank you for your email sent this morning. 

 

Please find attached the email that was sent to the whatdotheyknow.com
website  on 11^th December 2018. Unfortunately, as the two-month window
for requesting an internal review had long since passed we were unable to
accept your review.

 

Kind regards.

 

HMRC Freedom of Information Team

 

The information in this e-mail and any attachments is confidential and may
be subject to legal professional privilege. Unless you are the intended
recipient or his/her representative you are not authorised to, and must
not, read, copy, distribute, use or retain this message or any part of it.
If you are not the intended recipient, please notify the sender
immediately.

 

HM Revenue & Customs computer systems will be monitored and communications
carried on them recorded, to secure the effective operation of the system
and for lawful purposes.

 

The Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs are not liable for any
personal views of the sender.

 

This e-mail may have been intercepted and its information altered.

Dear HM Revenue and Customs,
In reference to your reply I will draw your attention to the legal fact that YOUR reply was overdue and not mine, I will therefore give you one last chance to provide ALL the information requested, or I will contact the the ICO. Your attempt to shift the blame for not complying with current laws and legislation has been noted, and will be evidenced to the ICO if need be. Due diligence on your behalf was NOT carried out or you would have realised the error your department has made and corrected it without a childish attempt to gain the moral high ground, a fact that has backfired.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Bennett

HM Revenue and Customs

Dear Mr Bennett

Thank you for your email sent this morning.

We acknowledge our original response to your request was issued very late. This was due to the difficulty we had identifying the information you required, and the reasons for this were explained in our letter. If you consider the advice we provided in that letter and submit a new request, we will endeavour to answer it. Unfortunately, your review request was submitted late so we are unable to consider it.

If you think we failed to provide a satisfactory answer to your original request, irrespective of the timeliness factor which we accept, your concerns can be taken to the Information Commissioner. Advice on how to do this can be accessed at the following link: https://ico.org.uk/make-a-complaint/

Yours faithfully

HM Revenue and Customs
Freedom of Information Team

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Dear HM Revenue and Customs,
You acknowledged my request which was submitted with the legal timeframe you then went on to ignore or not reply, as such you were sent another internal review of the last one which again is within timescales allowed. I will let you reconsider your reply and provide the requested information as initially asked for. If you refuse again and claim you followed legal guidelines when its clear from the audit trail above you have not I will seek advice from the ICO regards enforcement action.

Yours faithfully,

Mark Bennett

HM Revenue and Customs

Good afternoon Mr Bennett,

As previously explained, your review request was received late so it wasn't accepted. We do have the right to refuse review requests received more than two months after our original response is issued. However, if we had accepted your request, I would first have apologised for the lateness of the original HMRC reply. I would then have upheld the original decision to seek clarification because your questions are too wide in scope. There are a number of teams that undertake investigations into tax avoidance. Training will vary depending on role assigned to an individual, as fraud investigators need different skills to compliance caseworkers, although some training will overlap.

If you identified the team of interest, we would be able to make enquiries to identify training, relevant accreditation and so forth. As it is, your first two questions require us to contact every team, whether that be Hidden Economy colleagues or those dealing with off-payroll working.

As our response said, the grade of an investigator will depend on the role they hold. Any decision making process, so information or evidence required, will also depend on the role held. I'd refer you to our published tax compliance manuals again to help expand on this point:
https://www.gov.uk/government/collection...

Addressing you question about staff errors, it is likely staff would be retrained and eventually removed from a role if improvements weren't made but we wouldn't keep a record of this outside of individual staff files. Consider a supermarket scenario, if a till person keeps making mistakes, they will be removed from till work if training doesn't address the issues. If you then ask the supermarket for data on staff that have changed roles for a specific reason, they wouldn't keep such information indefinitely, so they may be able to tell you about changes covering the recent past but probably not those from a few years ago. Personal files would need to be checked and this task could take some time if they employed a large number of staff.

Finally, I'd refer you again to links offered previously. HMRC have governance arrangements in place to ensure our approach to settling cases is consistent. Where the amount of tax is large, settlements of individual cases are also considered by case governance panels. All settlements, irrespective of the amount of tax involved, must be in line with the HMRC Litigation and Settlement Strategy (LSS), available online at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publicatio...

Additionally, information about how HMRC resolve tax disputes is also published annually in the ‘Tax Assurance Commissioner’s annual report’ available at: www.gov.uk/government/collections/how-we...

And estimated tax loss is discussed in our measuring tax gap publications:
https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics...

If you are not satisfied with the way HMRC has dealt with your request, you have the right to contact the Information Commissioner.

Thanks,

Harjit

Harjit Garcha | FOI Adviser
Freedom of Information Team | Solicitor's Office and Legal Services
HMRC | 6th Floor | Canary Wharf | 10 South Colonnade | London | E14 4PU 

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