Juggling VAT in your business can be difficult. Sometimes things go wrong and an investigation is launched into your business affairs.
In a VAT investigation, HMRC can now go back 20 years to recover VAT lost due to criminal or civil VAT fraud.
HMRC have powers to arrest, without a warrant, anyone suspected of criminal VAT fraud or using false documents (Value Added Tax Act 1994 S.72 (9)).
Assurance was given that this power would only be exercised by specialist investigators and in the most serious VAT investigation cases.
Part of HMRC’s review of powers has sought views on applying the relevant provision in the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE) across all of its activities.
Before the merger of Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise to form HMRC, these powers and associated safeguards were only available for specific taxes and duties.
But changes introduced in the Finance Act 2007 gave trained officers harmonised powers to apply for search warrants, production order and powers of arrest across all areas of taxes. All of which are subject to important safeguards which attach to criminal investigations generally.
The statutory record keeping requirements contained in the Finance Act 2008 sch.37 are supported by the information powers included under sch.36 and they apply to all taxes administered by HMRC including VAT.
There is no appeal against HMRC’s request to inspect the person’s records but the request would have to be reasonable.
This is a very complicated field, especially since the Finance Act of 2008.
A VAT investigation can lead to a prosecution, so it is important to get help from an experienced VAT investigation expert as quickly as possible.
Our team consists of ex-Inland Revenue officers and ex-Customs and Excise staff who are experienced in any VAT Investigation.
Our dedicated experts are here to make sure HMRC treat you fairly.
For more information on a VAT investigation pick up the phone and call one of our experts on 0800 471 4546.
If a letter from HMRC has landed on your doorstep quoting ‘Public Notice 160’ you could be in serious trouble and suspected of VAT Fraud.
HMRC will issue a PN 160 VAT investigation when they suspect that serious misconduct or VAT fraud has occurred.
A charge of dishonesty can be given.
Professionals, such as accountants or lawyers, cannot afford the stigma of this type of investigation, especially if they belong to professional bodies where complaints can be made about whether they have acted professionally or not.
Although you do not have to attend an HMRC meeting under a PN 160, HMRC expect you to fully co-operate with them.
KinsellaTax do not allow clients to meet with HMRC tax inspectors during an investigation, unless they are legally required to do so.
We believe that HMRC meetings add additional stress to an already extremely worrying time.
We will always fully co-operate with HMRC on a clients’ behalf, providing that the information HMRC request is necessary and they are permitted by law to ask for it.
Our experts know your rights and we will fight to make sure you are treated fairly and courteously throughout.
A VAT fraud investigation is serious and anyone undergoing this by HMRC should have strong and reliable representation from the outset.
If you think HMRC suspect you of VAT fraud, or you have already received a letter from HMRC, you need to contact an expert IMMEDIATELY.
To put your mind at rest call KinsellaTax on 0800 471 4546 to speak to one of our many experts.