Cases of suspected tax fraud or tax evasion are the most serious tax investigations a taxpayer can face. It is imperative that the taxpayer seeks specialist advice from an experienced tax investigations practitioner.

Cases using civil procedures

Investigations into cases where HMRC suspect serious tax fraud are usually conducted using the civil procedures set out in Code of Practice 9.  If you are being investigated using this method HMRC will let you know immediately.  They will send you a copy of the Code of Practice so that you are aware of the seriousness of their concerns and invite you to make a disclosure under a procedure known as the Contractual Disclosure Facility.   Sometimes HMRC’s suspicions turn out to be unfounded, but in most cases, there will be strong evidence to suggest that fraud has been committed because HMRC will have carried out their own extensive research before formally opening the investigation under Code of Practice 9.

A tax investigation started by a local compliance tax office can be escalated into a tax fraud or tax evasion investigation under Code of Practice 9 if the local compliance office Inspector uncovers evidence of something more serious than previously expected during the course of their investigation.  In these circumstances the local office Inspector will refer the case to HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service team.

How Code of Practice 9 works

Under the Contractual Disclosure Facility procedures set out in Code of Practice 9, the taxpayer is expected to make a full disclosure to HMRC of any errors or omissions in their tax affairs, potentially going back over the previous 20 years.  The taxpayer will need to discuss these issues with their tax adviser in order to prepare a report for HMRC which discloses any previous errors or omissions. The report must be comprehensive, and will need to provide evidence to support the disclosures made.

Provided the taxpayer makes a full and complete disclosure to HMRC of all previous errors and omissions, cases of tax fraud or tax evasion can be resolved within the civil arena, without HMRC resorting to criminal prosecution.  However, if the disclosure made to them under this procedure turns out to be inadequate, then HMRC still has the option of taking the case to the criminal courts.

How can WLH Tax help

HMRC considers these cases to be very serious, and as a result the consequences can be highly damaging for the taxpayer.  Most accountancy practices have little or no experience in dealing with this type of case.  Therefore, it is very important that the taxpayer seeks specialist advice from a suitably qualified and experienced tax investigations practitioner to ensure that matters are dealt with in the most appropriate manner.

If HMRC have written to you either because you have committed tax fraud or tax evasion or because HMRC suspect that you have, WLH Tax can represent you in order to resolve the enquiry as quickly as possible.

We will initially meet with you to discuss what has taken place and agree a strategy for taking matters forward with HMRC.  We will endeavour to minimise the stress a tax investigation can cause by dealing with HMRC on your behalf.  This means that, other than possibly an initial meeting at the start of the tax investigation, you are unlikely to have to meet or speak to a tax inspector during the course of the tax investigation.

During the course of our work we will seek to minimise your tax liability wherever possible, while at the same time ensuring that you make a full disclosure so that you do not risk criminal prosecution or being named and shamed.

If you have committed tax fraud or tax evasion but have not yet been challenged by HMRC, and you wish to voluntarily get your tax affairs up to date, WLH Tax can make a managed voluntary tax disclosure to HMRC on your behalf. By making a managed voluntary tax disclosure to HMRC, WLH Tax will be able to secure you immunity from prosecution.

If you have committed tax fraud or tax evasion, please contact us for a free, confidential and no obligation discussion. We are happy to have an initial free of charge meeting with prospective clients.

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