KinsellaTax has released their top tips for surviving an HMRC tax investigation, in an effort to highlight common mistakes made by individuals and businesses during an investigation by HMRC.
“The first thing anyone should do if they are worried about an investigation is to contact a team of specialists,” says Kevin Kinsella Jnr, Chief Executive of KinsellaTax, “The following tips are intended as a guide – we want people to know what to expect”
First and foremost, KinsellaTax recommend that individuals should not lie to HMRC as it is surprising how many people lie to the HMRC and think they can get away with it. According to UK specialist Kinsella Jnr, “If you are open and honest from the outset, you are more likely to be treated leniently; that’s if you are found guilty of any wrongdoing in the first place!”
Secondly, it is imperative that those under these investigations do not panic, as they rarely end in a custodial sentence; “If you are concerned about the outcome, contact a specialist with the necessary knowledge to assuage your fears.”
Thirdly, KinsellaTax recommends that those under investigation should not discuss their situation with anyone other than their tax advisors, “We understand that it’s tempting to discuss what’s going on with family and friends, but it’s important that you keep your affairs close to your chest during the investigation. Once information leaves a tight circle committed to confidentiality, there’s no telling where it will end up.”
Kinsella’s team also recommend that individuals do not make any attempt to hide or destroy evidence. “If you can’t present a piece of information that the HMRC asks for, you may be deemed to be wilfully hiding evidence, and this can only be detrimental to your case as a whole.”
Finally, Kinsella Jnr suggests that you “Be prepared. Never attend an HMRC meeting. Anything you say, even if you are completely honest, could be misinterpreted and used against you at a later stage. We, at KinsellaTax, never allow a client to meet with HMRC investigators whilst an investigation is under way as there is no advantage whatsoever for the client.”
“There is an exception, given the Code of Practice 9, when the client has to meet HMRC but then KinsellaTax advises only to answer the 9 questions put and nothing more. But in those circumstances, KinsellaTax would always accompany the client. One other exception is under Section 144. In this case, if the client does not attend a meeting then they will be arrested. The interview is conducted under PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) and KinsellaTax always attends these interviews.”
“The best way to ensure you have adequately prepared for a HMRC investigators is to contact a specialist in the field” says Kevin Kinsella Jnr. KinsellaTax has over 120 years’ experience of the industry and operates nationwide.