The rules have changed again. HMRC will undoubtedly want to see you and whilst there is still no legislation forcing you to attend an interview the revenue now say if you don’t attend an interview with them when it comes to a question of penalties, not attending an interview may have some bearing on what amount of penalty you pay.


HMRC seem in some cases I have seen acknowledge that you don’t have to attend an interview, but still say non attendance may result in the final penalty being affected. Seems unfair to me, but who said paying taxes was fair.


If you find that confusing then get someone to represent you, someone who is experienced in dealing with HMRC investigations.


My advice is and remains the same as it has been over the last 30 years. DO NOT GO TO INTERVEIWS WHILST THERE IS AN ONGOING INVESTIGATION. THERE IS NO ADVANTAGE TO BE GAINED.


My experience is that whoever is under investigation has no idea of the pressure that is put on them at an interview.


The last time I attended an interview was because the client insisted again and again that he wanted a meeting with the inspector, who was a young lady.


We had the meeting against my wishes and advice in my office and the young lady inspector turned up with a young male colleague and a list of questions.


She was perfectly nice, I did not have to intercede she finished in two hours, left and my client had got himself in a right pickle. For the next two years all i got from this chap were complaints about what he had been asked, didn’t they believe him and even when i got a very SMALL settlement he was so bitter that he blamed everyone but himself, went off to live in Spain in a house he had bought, blaming the revenue for driving him out of the country. He forgot he was a retired man, presumably bought the house to live in and it just happened to be in Spain.


Moral of the story is get an experienced representative and don’t go to interviews.


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