Historically, HMRC prosecutions were targeted at criminal gangs abusing the tax system and those in positions of trust, such as lawyers and accountants, who committed serious fraud and tax evasion. As the burden on the Treasury has tightened and public perception about tax avoidance is less palatable, there has been a shift in policy by HMRC to prosecute investors and organisations involved in what appears at first glance to be lawful tax avoidance schemes and offshore schemes but which under scrutiny are exposed as artificial or sham mechanisms to reduce or hide income and, therefore, evade tax that is lawfully due
In many of these schemes, we regularly see high net worth investors and corporations who have been advised that these schemes are lawful only to later fall foul of a challenge by HMRC.
Schemes found to be purely designed to avoid tax are usually shut down by HMRC, and recent court cases have made provision for the department to issue payment notices, which will allow them to collect outstanding tax, interest and fines whilst still investigating any such schemes.
HMRC uses the civil investigation procedure where appropriate and reserves criminal investigations for the most serious cases where or if prosecution is needed as a deterrent.
Our team regularly handle a range of civil investigations and prosecutions by HMRC. Speak to our tax defence lawyers today to see how we will be able to help you. Our specialist HMRC investigation solicitors assist individuals and organisations under investigation for tax disputes, tax schemes and any related tax fraud or money laundering, providing practical and effective advice.
HMRC Criminal Investigations
There are various circumstances in which HMRC will consider a criminal rather than civil investigation including where:
- materially false statements or documents are given in a civil investigation;
- it suspects deliberate concealment, deception, conspiracy or corruption;
- there are previous convictions of tax evasion or avoidance or previous civil actions;
- a company's liquidation appears suspicious;
- there is use of false or forged documents;
- there is evidence of suspected money laundering;
- a Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF) is offered but rejected or the information disclosed is incorrect;
- importation or exportation in breach of prohibitions and restrictions has occurred; or
- there is evidence of VAT, Carousel or MTIC fraud.
Handling an HMRC Investigation
Our specialist tax defence lawyers advise organisations, individuals and professionals facing enquiries (such as COP 9 and COP 8 enquiries), investigations or criminal prosecutions. Our team have many years combined experience and knowledge of the approaches that may be taken to cooperating with or defending against any action by HMRC.
In appropriate cases, our expert solicitors will direct and assist in negotiations with HMRC to work towards a civil settlement. Where necessary, our lawyers will work with other specialists, such as tax counsel or accountants to enable us to give you the best advice possible and to achieve the most commercially-effective outcome.
When a criminal investigation is already underway or cannot be avoided, we will provide you with the expert advice and support when you need it.
A dawn raid or search warrant at your home or work is sometimes the first indication that HMRC is investigating you. If this is the case, it is vital that you contact us immediately for guidance on how best to proceed to protect your interests.
Our team will advise you on all aspects of any civil or criminal investigations, and on all the surrounding issues that may arise from arrests and interviews under caution to settlements and plea deals or powers of seizure and forfeiture under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. Janes Solicitors offer you and your business a complete and competitive solution under one roof.
Contact our Expert Tax Defence Lawyers London
Janes Solicitors provides bespoke specialist advice on all areas of serious and complex fraud and regulatory, taxation and serious financial crime matters. With extensive experience in all areas of tax, fraud and financial crime and a well-earned reputation as leaders in our field, our expert defence team take a proactive and pragmatic approach to legal advice and case strategy. We are committed to your successful outcome. We pride ourselves on our bespoke approach for each client and our fearless commitment in every case we undertake.