VAT Inspections & Investigations

Our tax solicitors can work with you in confidence to discuss and resolve matters relating to VAT inspections and investigations.


VAT Inspection & Investigation Lawyers

The VAT lawyers at Richard Nelson LLP are specialists in advising and representing businesses faced with VAT inspections and investigations. Contact us to discuss your situation in confidence.

The most common situations are the day-to-day instances of VAT false declaration or under-declaration of VAT on VAT Returns. These often involve suppressed sales (“cash in hand”). Sometimes there will be inflation of purchase invoices or input invoices, including the creation of forged invoices and false accounting records. This will almost always have a knock-on effect of creating an evasion of a business’s corporation or partnership tax, and probably also personal income tax by the entrepreneur.

A seemingly routine VAT inspection can easily lead to a full investigation of all taxes, both business and personal.

In previous years, there has been much high-profile publicity of large VAT investigations involving fraudulent VAT reclaims or refund applications. These have been well-known as carousel or MTIC (Missing Trader Intra Community) frauds and include the situations where there are missing traders or hijacked traders. These cases have resulted in many prosecutions involving huge volumes of documents, and lengthy trials, and are often Very High-Cost Cases (VHCC).

A side-effect of these cases is the use of the Extended Verification Process (EVP) in relation to VAT refund claims where HMRC suspects a fraudulent scheme. The likelihood and duration of EVPs have increased. This will have a massive negative effect including for a legitimate business with a legitimate VAT refund claim. It is vital that businesses can demonstrate that they have the means of knowledge of legitimacy, in relation to their entire supply chain.

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How our VAT lawyers can help

- Solicitors have a special status called legal professional privilege, meaning all communications between our criminal tax lawyers and their clients cannot be disclosed without the permission of the client
- We can manage the drafting of responses and all communications (including meetings) with HMRC
- Negotiation to minimise penalties and avoid ‘naming and shaming’
- Representation in a criminal investigation and at Caution Interviews
- Forensic investigation reports and written representations against prosecution
- Conduct requests for Formal Reviews & Appeals to the Tribunal

Occasionally, an HMRC VAT Investigation will commence as a Criminal Tax Investigation, particularly where HMRC already have evidence of fraudulent returns, forgery or providing false information in a previous inquiry.

But the vast majority of the time a VAT investigation starts as a VAT inspection. This may be because HMRC believes that there are queries or irregularities that a targeted VAT inspection will reveal. However, very often this starts out as a purely routine VAT inspection (which all businesses will expect at some time). The danger here is that if there has been any VAT under-declaration or input inflation, even if HMRC do not suspect any wrongdoing, it may well be thrown up and spotted by HMRC at this stage. They may also require further records to be submitted which makes it impossible to hide any longer.

If you are concerned about a VAT inspection or investigation (whether you have had one, or in the midst of one, or it is upcoming), it is vital to seek legal advice from specialist VAT lawyers to minimise any potential repercussions from HMRC.

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Solicitor or accountant?

If you are considering contacting an accountant or a solicitor regarding a VAT investigation, you should be aware that information you provide to your solicitor enjoys a special status called Legal Professional Privilege (LPP).

LPP is a right that protects confidential relations between lawyers and clients and prevents them from having to be disclosed, even in court. This covers written and verbal communications to obtain and receive legal advice, and also communications when there is litigation or it is potential.

LPP only applies to lawyers and not to accountants or tax investigation advisers.

What we do

– Assessing the tax consequences (including challenges to what HMRC state);
– Drafting of responses to HMRC enquiries;
– Representing you and managing any meetings with HMRC;
– Making a proactive voluntary disclosure to avoid an investigation;
– Tactics and negotiation to minimise penalties;
– Avoiding HMRC ‘naming & shaming’;
– Representing you in a criminal investigation and at formal Caution Interviews;
– Forensic investigation reports and written representations against prosecution;
– Conducting requests for Formal Reviews and Appeals to the Tribunal;
– Dealing with all contact with HMRC for you;
– Applying Legal Professional Privilege, and Solicitors’ Confidentiality as your safeguards.

Get in touch

If you have received notification of a VAT visit, inspection or HMRC VAT investigation, have had one, or you are worried about any of these, contact our team without delay and speak to one of our VAT lawyers. You can contact our team to request a no-obligation discussion by:

– Using the form on this page;
– Phoning us during office hours on 0333 888 4040;
– Emailing us at

This is where Richard Nelson LLP’s team of leading VAT lawyers can help. If you are under a VAT Inspection and Investigation and need advice then feel free to contact us today.

Specialist solicitors

Our multidisciplinary team is made up of specialists in a wide range of services, which means you'll always be represented by an expert in your area.

No-strings initial call

Get in touch to arrange a no-obligation, fully confidential call to discuss your case and work out if you want to continue.

Nationwide support

Speak to solicitors in one of our offices throughout England and Wales, or arrange calls and remote meetings.


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HMRC Tax Investigation Help & Advice: What You Should Know

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Contact our legal advice specialists today.

Are you interested in speaking to our Vat Inspection & Investigation Lawyers?

Use the form on the right to get in touch with our team and arrange an initial call to discuss your situation. We will use this no-obligation, fully confidential initial call to learn more about your case and help you understand your options going forward.

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