Litigation

Tax Evasion

Our team of tax law specialists help our clients defend their company or self from a HMRC investigation into areas such as VAT fraud, income tax evasion, or corporation tax evasion. HMRC is attempting to investigate and prosecute as many perpetrators as possible.

How our solicitors help you with your HMRC tax evasion investigation

Our experts work with Tax Advisers to provide a holistic service to help you to defend any tax evasion charges. We have years of experience defending people accused of fraud, while helping to alleviate any reputational and professional damage.

Should I get legal representation for tax fraud?

If you have had the police or HMRC investigation approach you or have undercovered fraud yourself then you should seek legal advice immediately. Our legal team can help you navigate through the process and help prevent you from falsely implicating yourself or your company. Getting representation is essential so that you can outline the situation in full. We may instruct a forensic accountant to collaborate your case so that there is no misinterpretation of the facts.

Why choose us?

Our criminal defence team are experienced, calm and understand HMRC investigations. Our defence lawyers:

  • Assess the risk and case against you.
  • Advise on responses to HMRC.
  • Assist you to make disclosures to HMRC.
  • Defend any allegations of fraud.
  • Deal with all correspondence with HMRC.
  • Instruct experts.
  • Negotiate with HMRC on any potential penalties.
  • Represent you where necessary.

Once instructed we act quickly to respond to HMRC queries to protect you from criminal charges and reputational damage.

What is tax fraud?

Tax fraud is defined by action fraud as ‘the theft of taxes due to HMRC or the theft of tax credits paid out by HMRC’.

This definition includes tax evasion, which is the deliberate and dishonest failure to declare income or tax owed to HMRC. Further, it would include VAT fraud, where VAT is charged but not paid as a tax.

What is VAT fraud?

This is a type of tax evasion that happens when you do not charge VAT when you are supposed to, or you charge VAT and fail to pay it to HMRC.

HMRC may investigate VAT fraud reported or suspected if you have:

  • Requested a customer pay by cash;
  • Asked the customer to pay someone else or another account other than your business;
  • Not registered for VAT when it is believed you should have;
  • Claimed to have applied for a VAT number but have not; or
  • Used an invalid VAT number.

What are the penalties for tax evasion in the UK?

The penalties for tax evasion can be hefty but it depends on the type of crime committed. Punishments can vary from large fines to prison times.

If you have been accused of VAT fraud, then the maximum conviction at a magistrate court would be a six-month prison sentence or a fine of £20,000. However, should your case reach the Crown court then it could be a seven-year prison sentence or an unlimited fine.

Income tax evasion has a maximum penalty of a seven-year prison sentence or an unlimited fine.

Cheating public revenue is considered an extremely serious offence and has a maximum penalty of a life sentence or an unlimited fine.

What is a HMRC tax investigation?

HMRC conduct tax investigations in three ways, which are full, aspect or random. They notify you by letter should they begin an investigation. At this point, it is essential to instruct legal support.

If you have been selected in a random investigation, it is by pure chance that HMRC has chosen your business.

Aspect enquiries are when HMRC investigate a particular area of the accounts in more detail. They are likely to suspect that you have made a genuine mistake than committed tax evasion.

Finally, a full investigation is when there is a substantial suspicion of an error in the return to HMRC. It is likely that they review all financial records and even review the personal finances of any directors or persons with significant interest.

What should you do if you have been contacted regarding a HMRC investigation?

If you have been contacted by HMRC that they are conducting an investigation, then you must provide all the financial information that they require. If you believe that a full investigation is over the top and believe that HMRC is mistaken in their suspicion you can argue against it. However, the final investigation decision is up to HMRC.

What do HMRC investigate?
Open What do HMRC investigate?

HMRC can investigate that you have paid and are paying the right amount of tax. This could include: the tax paid, the calculations, personal self-assessments, company returns, PAYE and VAT.

HMRC have recently targeted the construction sector, private security, property rentals, motor trade, restaurants, doctors, dentists and property management companies. However, you should ensure that you keep records in order whatever industry you are in as they may look at any industry.

If your business has been targeted by an investigation our experts can help.

What do HMRC investigate?
Open What do HMRC investigate?

HMRC can investigate that you have paid and are paying the right amount of tax. This could include: the tax paid, the calculations, personal self-assessments, company returns, PAYE and VAT.

HMRC have recently targeted the construction sector, private security, property rentals, motor trade, restaurants, doctors, dentists and property management companies. However, you should ensure that you keep records in order whatever industry you are in as they may look at any industry.

If your business has been targeted by an investigation our experts can help.

What taxes can be investigated by HMRC?
Open What taxes can be investigated by HMRC?

HMRC investigations can involve several areas such as income tax, VAT, corporation tax, IR35 and more.

If you are concerned or have received a letter notifying of an investigation, then get in touch today.

How long are HMRC tax investigations?
Open How long are HMRC tax investigations?

It is difficult to ascertain the time scales as each investigation is different. However, with our experience we can help reduce the timescales by properly responding and providing information to HMRC when required.

Key Contacts

If you are looking for help and guidance or have a question relating to Tax Evasion, please contact us today on +44 (0)20 7242 1666.