HMRC Tax and Fraud Investigations
In recent years, HMRC has increased the number and intensity of enquiries undertaken into the taxation activity of its users as the result of a major government crackdown against fraud. However, mistakes can be made, and you may find yourself on the end of a HMRC investigation having done nothing wrong. However, there are ways in which you can defend yourself against any allegations of fraud made against you.
How Can DPP Business & Tax Help?
If you are facing a HMRC fraud investigation, the first step to take is to contact DPP Business & Tax at your earliest opportunity. We can look back over more than 30 years of experience within the field, and have successfully defended numerous clients against allegations of tax fraud.
Our specialist solicitors can offer you expert HMRC tax investigation advice, go through your accounts and any other evidence to get a clear idea of your case, and present a strong defence in order to help you achieve the best possible result.
Matters Related to Your HMRC Tax Investigation
You may be subjected to one of two types of HMRC tax investigation. These are:
- A full enquiry, where HMRC believes that you are likely to have submitted multiple incorrect details on documents and statements and that it is possible that you have been dishonest in your tax-related activities.
- An aspect enquiry, which may occur if HMRC requires further details relating to a small number of specific details on a tax return.
You may be investigated by HMRC if they believe that the information you have submitted to them suggests that you may be guilty of:
- Tax evasion
- False accounting fraud
- Cheating public revenue
- Conspiracy to defraud
- Making false statements
- False representation
- Concealment, deception, conspiracy or corruption
- The use of false or forged documents
- Breach of importation or exportation prohibitions and restrictions
- Money laundering
Some of these offences are punishable by a fine or a community order. And the more severe of them may see the perpetrator jailed for up to 15 years or, in the case of cheating public revenue, there is a potential maximum prison sentence of life imprisonment depending on the extent and nature of the offending.
Frequently Asked Questions
What happens during a HMRC investigation?
An investigation usually begins with a request for information related to one or more of your tax returns. If you fail to provide this information within 30 days, you may be penalised. If HMRC are satisfied with the information you have provided, it’s likely that the investigation will go no further.
However, if they continue to have concerns, you may be invited to attend an interview or hearing, the outcome of which will depend on the severity of your alleged offences. Usually, this can range from a fine to a 15 year prison sentence. Your legal adviser can attend any hearings or meetings to assist you.
How long does a HMRC tax investigation take?
This depends on the complexity and perceived severity of the matter at hand, and how quickly you respond to HMRC’s requests. An aspect investigation usually takes 3-6 months, while a full investigation can take as long as 16 months.
How far back can a tax investigation go?
Usually, HMRC can go back between 4 and 6 years in order to investigate minor errors or instances of carelessness. However, if they suspect intentional fraud, it’s possible for them to delve into up to 20 years of tax returns.
As soon as you suspect that HMRC are looking into your tax related activities, you should make contact with experienced legal advisors. Get in touch with DPP Business & Tax today to see how we can assist you throughout the investigation and ensure that it reaches the best possible conclusion.
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