In recent years, the HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) the UK tax authority has become increasingly aggressive in dealing with tax avoidance. This is largely due to the political pressure being put on them with regard to this issue. This has resulted in substantial growth in local tax disputes, both civil and criminal.

Offences related to the HMRC include HMRC tax fraud, HMRC criminal investigation, and tax evasion.

HMRC investigation

Once the HMRC starts investigating a person or a corporation for suspicion of tax evasion, they have the power to access records very far back. This is usually when the investigation has been triggered on possible suspicion of a deliberate error or oversight in the filing of tax returns.

While the type of records required for the HMRC investigation varies according to each case, a typical HMRC investigation will ask for the following information:

  • Bank statements
  • Sales invoices
  • Expense receipts
  • Payroll records
  • VAT records
  • Credit card statements
  • Quotes from third parties involved in the case
  • Copies of emails and other correspondence.

HMRC criminal investigations

Certain circumstances that come to light during an HMRC investigation can change the nature of a civil investigation into a criminal case. These include:

  • Materially false documents and statements provided in a civil investigation
  • Deliberate deception, concealment, corruption or conspiracy suspicion during the investigation
  • Any previous convictions for tax avoidance or evasion or any civil actions
  • Suspicious liquidation of a company
  • Suspected usage of forged or false documents
  • Evidence of money laundering
  • Rejection of a Contractual Disclosure Facility offer or disclosure of incorrect information
  • A breach of restriction and prohibitions during importation or exportation
  • Evidence of Carousel, VAT or MTIC fraud

HMRC tax investigation penalties

If the person under investigation from the MNRC is found to owe additional tax funds, they are liable for a penalty. The severity of said penalty will depend on the extent and the amount of tax owed.

The defendant will be asked to pay the amount owed. In some cases, additional interest on the amount can also be charged.

Defending an income tax and excise (HMRC) related offence

UK tax laws are quite complex and always changing. So it can be especially difficult to navigate them if you have complicated international investments, a large income, or non-domicile status. In case you provide incorrect information whether deliberately or by mistake you can face reputational damage, substantial fines, and even criminal charges in some cases.

At Wembley Solicitors, our highly experienced criminal solicitors can help you deal with HMRC-related allegations.

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