Over the last 12 months I have seen what must be a 20-fold increase in the number of investigations...
Tax investigations are currently very much in the press with one very high profile case attracting national press coverage and a regular spot on the 10 o’clock TV news.
This of course is exactly what The Treasury wants, provided of course HMRC wins the case as it would send out a very clear message that regardless of who is involved, suspected tax fraud will be vigorously pursued and prosecuted. The expectation from HMRC would then be that other high profile individuals come forward with voluntary disclosures, and that non-celebrities may take the view that if a well known individual is successfully prosecuted, then what chance does a “normal” person stand of evading the law, and more disclosures will be volunteered.
HMRC has been quite open lately in saying that it is under orders to substantially increase the number of prosecutions for tax evasion. Over the last 12 months I have seen what must be a 20-fold increase in the number of investigations referred to me for assistance.
Most accountants fancy their chances of successfully representing a client in the event of an enquiry, but the current cycle of enquiries appears to be driven by the Civil Investigation of Fraud office (CIF) which is a totally different proposition to the average local investigator.
CIF has access to a wealth of information and just receiving a letter from this department with it’s intimidating letter heading can put the fear of god into a client, and indeed it would appear to most that this is the intention. Clients look for immediate reassurance and strong representation, and a familiarity of the procedure which is followed by CIF is pretty much a must if the client is to be properly defended.
Our tax investigations team has enormous experience of this type of enquiry and is available to answer your questions or provide any assistance/support which you may require.