You will not be notified by HMRC as soon as it is looking into your affairs but if it decides to formally investigate you, you may receive a letter from one of its departments asking you for more information. This usually starts with limited scope such as a local compliance audit asking for more information about your latest tax return or a request for information regarding a property transaction, but it is not uncommon for these investigations to be extended should issues arise.
If HMRC thinks that criminal activity has occurred, such as VAT fraud or serious or extensive tax evasion, then it may open a criminal investigation. You will not know anything about this until you are arrested or receive a letter asking for you to attend a voluntary interview under caution.
But sometimes, even when serious and deliberate tax evasion is identified, HMRC may choose to offer or accept to deal with it on a civil basis by entering into a Contractual Disclosure facility (CDF) under Code of Practice 9 (also known as a COP9 investigation). This is a structured and specialised process which allows HMRC to recover all outstanding tax plus interest and penalties from a person as long as full disclosure is made. If this is achieved, then HMRC will guarantee that the person will not be prosecuted for the issues disclosed.
So if you know of an irregularity in your tax affairs and you do not know how to resolve it, or you are worried that you may be investigated or find yourself the subject of a tax investigation or prosecution, then it is vital that you receive expert advice as to how best to navigate your way out of trouble. It is strongly recommended that you consult a specialist tax lawyer as soon as possible.
If you would like to find out how we can assist to answer your concerns and resolve your problems, we are very keen to provide an initial, no-obligation consultation by telephone or email (whichever we think will be the quickest and clearest for you) to confirm – if we can help you (we usually can), how we can do this, and to give you a costs estimate so that you can decide if you wish to proceed. Get in touch with us today.
We confirm that we will treat any information you give us as strictly confidential and purely for the purposes of responding to you. When you formally become a client, in addition to solicitors confidentiality, you will be also covered by Legal Professional Privilege (which only applies to solicitors and not accountants or tax advisers) which shields disclosure to third parties seeking information.