If you are under investigation by HMRC then follow these 10 tips to make it through to the other side!
The most vital step to take when being investigated is to get expert advice from the beginning. You need somebody on your side that knows tax laws inside out and knows the legislation that HMRC must adhere to.
An investigation can cause distress and alarm in your personal life but you must remember that very few tax investigations result in prosecution. Don’t always fear the worst!!
It may seem like a good idea to pass on your worries and concerns with your friends over a pint but, unless you want everyone knowing your tax affairs, this is never a good idea as you don’t know who is actually listening.
If you want to escape a prison sentence then don’t lie – simple as that!!
HMRC investigators have a whole array of resources and information available to them. They will have information about your tax affairs before they start investigating you and may even have spoken to your friends, colleagues or even bank manager so the chances are they know the ins and outs of your affairs.
HMRC cannot, unless it is a Section 144 or a prosecution where the police attend to arrest you, compel you to attend a meeting. Although, HMRC will, under Code of Practice 9, want you an interview but again it is entirely up to you whether you attend. This should be the first matter you discuss with KinsellaTax.
KinsellaTax re-iterates the importance of never attending a meeting with HMRC as, under stress, you may so the wrong thing and make matters worse for yourself in the long run.
In addition to relieving the burden of a huge tax bill at the end of a tax investigation, HMRC see making payments on account as an act of co-operation and compliance. This may prove extremely beneficial to you when HMRC are considering what penalties to charge you at the end of their enquiries and you are entitled to the interest earned which is offset against interest HMRC will charge on late payments of tax.
If you don’t have, or make available, relevant records such as business records and bank statements, HMRC may view this as a conspiracy to hide evidence.
Apart from the fact that KinsellaTax will require as much information as possible to fight any HMRC claim, this is never a good idea. According to HMRC regulations you should keep all business records for 6 years. It is in fact a criminal offence to destroy records whilst an enquiry is ongoing.
If you are making a voluntary disclosure then make sure you disclose EVERYTHING. HMRC will not look favourably at anyone who decides to conceal assets, transactions or additional income. If you do this then it is highly likely that HMRC will give you a higher penalty to pay as part of your settlement – this can be up to 100% of the tax liability.
Your tax investigation specialists (KinsellaTax) will deal with the disclosure report. It is important to remember that HMRC will indicate that they are not interested in criminally prosecuting for the offence of tax evasion
However, if you produce false documents or false information then the Revenue will prosecute for the act of deceit and that will attract a prison sentence so do not think that when HMRC tell you are uninterested in a criminal prosecution that this is a licence to lie and produce false documents as that is more serious than the tax evasion under enquiry.
If HMRC find you have offended again, they will take a very dim view of this. Repeated offences may increase the risk of you facing prosecution so learn from your mistakes and keep your tax affairs in order.
Follow these 10 top tips and you will make it out alive with KinsellaTax leading the way.