H M Revenue & Customs is the UK government department responsible for the collection and administration of taxes including Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax, Value Added Tax and Inheritance Tax. In recent years, the HMRC has significantly increased the resources committed to investigating all forms of tax fraud and evasion. Initiatives include the targeting of specific business, such as plumbers and private tutors, the purchase of stolen data from Swiss whistle-blowers, and more recently the creation of a specialist offshore unit which will ‘target offshore tax cheats’.
Anyone suspected of tax fraud is in a serious position. HMRC has wide ranging powers including the right to enter business premises and homes, the seizure of documents, and to prosecute of tax evaders. Proceedings to recover assets under the Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) frequently follow successful tax fraud prosecutions. Aggressive action is more usual where VAT fraud is suspected.
- In the case of a ‘dawn-raid’ by HMRC officers, legal advice is needed immediately. Gladstone Solicitors can provide the emergency help you need, as well as the legal and technical support required if allegations of fraud follow. Call Gladstone Solicitors on 0115 9555050 .
More usually, tax investigations are carried out under HMRC Civil Fraud procedures leading to a financial settlement which includes interest and penalties. Provided the taxpayer co-operates fully in disclosing all tax irregularities, and pays for the required Accountant’s Report, an indemnity from prosecution is offered. Although less aggressive, these investigations are stressful, intrusive, and expensive. They also need expert support, which Gladstone Solicitors can offer in conjunction with tax investigation consultant Alan Lamb – click here for bio.
- If you receive a letter from the Civil Investigation of Fraud Unit or any letter from HMRC which encloses a booklet called Code of Practice 9 (Civil Investigation into Cases of Suspected Serious Fraud), you need expert help. It is doubtful that most accountants have the expertise to deal adequately with cases of this type, and we frequently hear complaints of accountants’ being more interested in self-defence than client-defence in tax investigations. Call Gladstone Solicitors on .
Our approach to Code of Practice 9 (COP9) civil procedure tax fraud and investigation cases is:
- To ensure that our clients fully appreciate their position and what they need to do to resolve any problems with their tax affairs.
- To rigorously defend our clients within the scope and parameters of the law.
- To manage the investigation and ensure that HMRC do not take control of the process.
- To conclude the tax investigation in the most cost effective and efficient way.
- To ensure that our clients are treated correctly within the law.
- To consult tax counsel where significant tax savings might result from the careful handling of complex technical points.
Other specific current concerns for taxpayers with which Gladstone Solicitors can assist include:
- The Lichtenstein Disclosure Facility, handled by the HMRC Lichtenstein Desk in Bootle;
- Swiss bank originating investigations handled by the HMRC Risk & Intelligence Service, Criminal Intelligence Group in Birmingham.