As part of its role in ensuring compliance with tax regulations and laws, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) conducts investigations aimed at targeting tax fraud. How an individual or business conducts themselves during an investigation can have a material effect on whether criminal charges will follow. In this blog, the expert HMRC investigation and prosecution defence team at Stephen Lickrish & Associates provide some key ‘dos and don’ts’ for those facing, or involved in, a HMRC investigation. If you require more information, please contact us for an initial free discussion, or read more on VAT and other tax fraud issues here.
Tips for Tackling a HMRC Tax Investigation
Do get expert advice
Don’t go an investigation alone. Tax laws and regulations are notoriously complex, as are the guidelines and policy documents that accompany them. Get advice from experts in HMRC tax investigations, who know what they involve and how they are resolved.
Don’t destroy evidence
Keep your records and obtain replacements if anything has been lost or destroyed. HMRC investigators will take a dim view if documentation is missing or they have any reason to suspect you’ve attempted to cover your tracks. Indeed this could be construed as being indicative of criminal offending.
Collate relevant information and comply with requests and deadlines. A willingness to assist HMRC with their investigation is likely to help resolve the investigation quickly and reduce any potential penalties or the chance of further action being taken against you. This includes the ability to provide exculpatory information and any interview under caution.
HMRC has access to vast amounts of data and can require third parties, such as banks, to disclose information about their clients. The safest, and arguably the only, assumption you should make is that they have detailed information about your circumstances.
Do know your rights
In order to make informed decisions about how you should conduct yourself during a HMRC investigation, it’s vital to know your rights. From compliance with requests to the timing of visits and inspection of premises, knowing your rights in respect of these and other matters can help limit potential damage. Ensure that you have advice from a suitably experienced solicitor available to you in the event that you interviewed by HMRC under caution.
Stephen Lickrish & Associates – Expert Serious Fraud Defence Solicitors
At Stephen Lickrish & Associates, our fraud solicitors take pride in protecting our clients’ rights and ensuring the authorities exercise their powers lawfully. If you require assistance with any fraud investigation or prosecution matter, please contact us as soon as possible. Our strategic and proactive approach, from carrying out our own forensic investigations to deploying highly effective negotiation and advocacy skills, has resulted in notable successes for our clients.
For expert HMRC investigation or prosecution defence advice, please contact us using our enquiry form, or call our 24 hour free-phone number 0800 988 64 22 or our office on 0161 237 1913.