Tax investigation specialists Kinsella Tax have released their top tips for surviving a HMRC tax investigation, in an effort to highlight common mistakes made by individuals and businesses during investigation by HMRC.

“The first thing anyone should do if they are worried about a tax investigation is to contact a team of tax investigation specialists,” says Kevin Kinsella, Chief Executive of Kinsella Tax Limited, “The following tips are intended as a guide – we want people to know what to expect from a HMRC tax investigation.”

First and foremost, Kinsella Tax  recommend that individuals under investigation 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 tax investigation specialist Kevin Kinsella, “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 investigation do not panic, as HMRC tax investigations rarely end in a custodial sentence; “If you are concerned about the outcome of a tax investigation, contact a tax investigation specialist with the necessary knowledge to assuage your fears.”

Thirdly, Kinsella Tax recommends that those under investigation should not discuss their tax investigation with anyone other than their tax advisors, “We understand that it’s tempting to discuss your tax situation with family and friends, but it’s important that you keep your tax 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 tax investigation team also recommend that individuals under investigation 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, Kevin Kinsella 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 Kinsella Tax Limited, 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 Kinsella Tax Limited advises only to answer the 9 questions put and nothing more. But in those circumstances Kinsella Tax 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 Kinsella Tax always attends these interviews.”

“The best way to ensure you have adequately prepared for a HMRC tax investigation is to contact a specialist in the field” says Kevin Kinsella. Kinsella Tax Limited has over 120 years’ experience of the tax investigation industry and operates nationwide.

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