Tax Evasion & Avoidance

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For a number of years HMRC has had an aggressive anti-avoidance policy. This gained widespread public support from the publicity surrounding alleged tax avoidance by Jimmy Carr (K2 scheme), Gary Barlow (music industry scheme), Chris Moyles (used car trader scheme) as well as several big companies including Starbucks, Amazon and Google.

Film industry avoidance schemes have been in the news more recently with a number of them being prosecuted as a tax fraud.

HMRC has attempted to blur the boundary between evasion (which is criminal) and clever avoidance (which is not) in resolving some tax avoidance investigations, such as the well-known Montpelier (Isle of Man) scheme that was used mainly by property developers and IT contractors, and which requires very careful advice to resolve.

Undeclared income campaigns

Over the last few years HMRC have launched various campaigns targeted geographically, against certain types of taxpayer, and specific trades and professions, such as residential landlords, doctors, medical professionals, solicitors, barristers, online traders, plumbers, electricians, taxi drivers and private tutors.

These offer a one-off opportunity for voluntary disclosure with lower penalty incentives to ‘clear the slate’ and avoid the threat of a future tax fraud investigation and prosecution for income tax evasion.

Historically, there have been surprisingly few prosecutions in relation to these campaigns, particularly given the relatively low take-up under the schemes. However, this is likely to change given HMRC’s declared intention to prosecute more cases and the vast data sources it can now access and analyse (with it’s CONNECT system).

Feedback from the Legal 500

The work that we do for our clients at Richard Nelson has been recognised in the most recent Legal 500 listings:

The ‘dedicated and empathetic’ Jonathan Wright has significant experience handling HMRC tax investigations and regulatory work.


Get in touch

If you would like to speak to our tax evasion and avoidance lawyers, you can contact our team to request a no-obligation discussion by:

Solicitor or Accountant?

If you are considering instructing an accountant or a solicitor, you should be aware that information you provide to your solicitor enjoys a protected status called legal professional privilege.

Your accountant cannot provide this protection, although it is possible for them to gain it if they are instructed by a solicitor. If there is to be an assessment of the tax due and a report prepared about your tax affairs, we can instruct an accountant on your behalf.

Who Can Help You?

Mark Wilson, Partner at Richard Nelson LLP

Mark Wilson


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What we do...

We have a team of highly experienced tax evasion and avoidance lawyers. We therefore know how to resolve these investigations as quickly as possible, whilst protecting your liberty, reputation and privacy and restricting the financial consequences to you.

  • Immediate response to dawn raids, arrests and interviews under caution;
  • Quick arrangement of advice and assistance for you, including meeting as appropriate, for all aspects of tax investigation;
  • We have established close working relationships with independent tax consultants, forensic tax accountants, and specialist tax barristers, so that we can involve them in your case if necessary;
  • Avoid a HMRC criminal investigation if one has not already begun, by an appropriate and carefully managed disclosure to HMRC where necessary;
  • Minimise the effects of an existing tax fraud investigation and endeavour to convert it to a civil solution;
  • Robust defense of a tax evasion and avoidance prosecution, including challenging Restraint Orders and Confiscation proceedings;
  • We act for taxpayers across England and Wales, including those in London (but not at London prices).

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