A Public Notice 160 deals with cases where HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have reason to believe that dishonest conduct has occurred. This notice covers all indirect taxes other than Stamp Duties, Customs duties and import VAT.
HMRC will normally ask you to attend a meeting so they can tell you that the check is not being conducted with a view to prosecute and explain to you the matters that are the subject of the check.
This means the behaviour and period under enquiry, not the specific information that HMRC hold that gives rise to their suspicion of dishonesty.
Kinsella Tax Investigations highly recommends that anyone under investigation by HMRC does NOT attend any meeting.
You will be given an opportunity to disclose any irregularities in relation to your tax affairs. Although HMRC may not be able to deal with these irregularities as part of the PN 160 check, they may be investigated separately with a view to prosecute if appropriate.
HMRC may find it necessary to make further checks. If they need to do so, they should explain the compliance checks process to you and the steps that need to be taken in order to ascertain the facts. They will invite you to make payments on account towards any tax arrears, throughout the check, which will reduce any interest charges.
If the Revenue decides that any tax arrears are due to dishonesty or deliberate behaviour, they will consider whether you should pay a penalty.
The law on penalties for irregularities has changed.
If HMRC discover irregularities due to dishonesty, a civil evasion penalty will usually be applied.
For irregularities identified due to deliberate behaviour, a penalty for deliberate inaccuracies or a penalty for deliberate and concealed inaccuracies will be charged. The penalty applied depends upon the tax period in which the irregularities occurred.
At the end of any HMRC check, they will take into account the extent of your co-operation.
Please remember that during any HMRC investigation the officer dealing with your case should always be courteous, fair and professional.
If you have received a Public Notice 160 from HMRC then contact Kinsella Tax Investigations IMMEDIATELY on 0800 471 4546.