Tax Investigations

“Kingsley Napley LLP has carved out a niche in criminal tax investigations and litigation, drawing on broad expertise in corporate criminal defence to advise clients on the spectrum of tax fraud cases."

Legal 500 UK, 2020

"Kingsley Napley’s tax litigation and investigations team are unique in their combination of cutting edge experience, for example in cum ex investigations, with real world knowledge of how to avoid, or fight and win criminal litigation."

Legal 500 UK, 2022

"Kingsley Napley are a well known firm in the financial crime field. Their work on HMRC investigations compliments their leading work in this field.

Legal 500 UK, 2022

"David Sleight has quietly been building one of the most impressive contested tax practices in London. His clients include hedge funds and big four partners. He is second to none at avoiding prosecution, but if that’s not possible he has the most impressive ability to spot the points that will win. Bright and canny."

Legal 500 UK, 2022

"Ed Smyth is a clever and innovative lawyer. Ed is personable as well as being a fighter."

Legal 500 UK, 2022

"Louise Hodges is a wise and experienced lawyer who is unflappable in a crisis."

Legal 500 UK, 2022

Our team of expert tax lawyers has a proven track record of successfully defending both individuals and companies in civil and criminal HMRC investigations in the UK and overseas.

This includes investigations regarding the alleged evasion of income tax, corporation tax and VAT (including missing trader/carousel frauds) as well as investigations into tax avoidance schemes (including film investment schemes, pension schemes, patent investment schemes, and schemes investing in contracts for difference) and investigations arising from money laundering proceedings.

Despite headlines of resource constraints within HMRC and criticism that it does not do enough to tackle tax evasion on an individual or corporate level, HMRC’s powers and the zeal of its fraud investigations unit should not be underestimated. 

HMRC has ambitious prosecution targets and is under pressure to do all it can to protect the public purse. It also has new legislative tools at its disposal to hold parties to account.

How we can help

We can support those who find themselves in HMRC’s sights for a serious tax matter in a variety of ways:

  • We advise on how to respond to HMRC enquiries and assist with information disclosure.
  • We work closely with other specialist professionals (for example, tax accountants, forensic accountants and tax counsel), in order to persuade HMRC to resolve potential tax disputes in clients’ best interests, be that through tax tribunals, civil proceedings and/or a negotiated settlement (Under Code of Practice 8 or 9). 
  • We can provide rapid and immediate assistance in “crisis situations” - for example, following arrest(s) or dawn raid(s). We can also attend the police station and advise on the scope and legality of search warrants if required.
  • We provide specialist advice in the event a tax investigation is linked to related money laundering proceedings.
  • Should matters take the route of a criminal prosecution, we will ensure the strongest possible defence is advanced at court.
  • We also advise on the corporate offence of failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion (Criminal Finances Act 2017).
  • We provide specialist advice on the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Our approach

We recognise that UK tax law is complex and that it is possible to get things wrong. For HNW individuals with complicated international investments and a non-domicile status, that can especially be the case. Companies or trusts too may find themselves in HMRC’s gaze for the wrong reasons. With recent changes to the law, what were once considered legitimate tax planning steps may now be regarded as being on the wrong side of the line.

We also assist those who have taken deliberate tax evasion measures and need to mitigate their position.

We understand that HMRC investigations are stressful and can have serious consequences. We have an excellent track record of resolving matters before charges are brought wherever possible and protecting our clients’ interests when the authorities are determined to pursue criminal litigation.

If you are concerned about a tax investigation please contact one of our specialist tax investigation lawyers.

What clients and directories have said

Leading practice in the representation of individuals in regulatory investigations or enforcement actions, drawing upon significant strength in employment, criminal and white-collar law to offer a complete service in the area. Highly experienced in cases involving issues such as insider trading and mis-selling of products. Also assists individuals under investigation for alleged market manipulation and anti-competitive behaviour."

Chambers UK 2020 – A Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Unique perspective on tax from the point of view of premier league litigators."

Legal 500 UK 2020

Absolutely well suited for handling litigation for a high net worth client base."

Chambers & Partners, High Net Worth Guide, 2019

I believe their strength lies in their meticulous attention to detail and the intelligence of the individuals employed by that firm. I could not imagine a better law firm."

Chambers and Partners 2018

Excellent performance: timely and reassuring."

Chambers and Partners, 2017 

They are very knowledgeable about the law, and very skilled at representing individuals. They have tremendous depth of understanding of the law and are extremely good at working with co-counsel and developing the facts of the case."

Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession, 2017


Excellent white-collar crime and fraud firm covering all key UK regulators.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

A premier outfit for individuals under regulatory investigations."

Chambers UK 2021

The firm is well known as a blue-chip firm for white-collar crime that represent individuals investigated for tax fraud also.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

Bright and dedicated lawyers."

Chambers UK 2021

Deep bench of experienced lawyers with an approachable style.”

Legal 500 UK 2021

Regarded as one of the best financial crime firms"

Chambers High Net Worth Guide 2020

They're one of the firms that is right at the top of the scale. They're very experienced in handling the big cases. They're extremely well resourced and I've never had anything other than a good experience with them."

Chambers UK 2020 – A Client’s Guide to the UK Legal Profession 

Tax Investigations Insights

View all


COVID-19 Fraud: New Taxpayer Protection Taskforce

Rise in Cum-Ex investigations across Europe: Cum-Ex trades explained

Civil or criminal proceedings for serious fraud?

Three years on and still no prosecutions for HMRC’s Corporate Criminal Offence

Tax advisers beware - avoidance is the new evasion

HMRC to clampdown on businesses that have abused the Furlough scheme

Beware the hidden cost of furlough abuse

Fraud in the time of COVID-19 - The law enforcement response

The Corporate Offence of Failure to Prevent the Facilitation of Tax Evasion: Two years on

AML: HMRC flexes enforcement muscle to the tune of £7.8 million

Wine as an investment – the wine merchant’s risk

HMRC turns to companies to police tax evasion

HMRC takes on off-shore tax evasion

Will the new corporate offence of failure to prevent tax evasion and enhanced international tax transparency change the landscape for tax investigations?

Failure to prevent tax evasion? Responsibility shifted from HMRC onto companies

Holding Corporates to Account: Criminal Liability for Failure to Prevent Facilitation of Tax Evasion

Corporate Crime Q&A: The new corporate offence of failure to prevent tax evasion

Privilege, Confidentiality and the Challenge of Modern Technology

Bahamas succumbs to OECD pressure to implement the Common Reporting Standards

United Arab Emirates - the latest "tax haven" to sign up to enhanced tax transparency

HMRC continue to clampdown on aggressive tax avoidance schemes

Budget 2017 – 35 “New” ways to tackle tax avoidance and evasion

What the Autumn Statement means for tax evasion and avoidance

Tackling Tax Evasion – Finance Act 2016 establishes new criminal offences

Criminal Finance Bill: legislative action to back up political commitments

Launch of Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation: understanding, implementing and enforcing sanctions

Tackling Tax Evasion – Finance Bill establishes new criminal offence

"Relentless in pursuit of tax evasion and avoidance”: HMRC sets out plan to 2020

Public Account Committee hauls Google and HMRC over the coals

New Fraud Taskforce - A step in the fight against fraud or political posturing?

MPs question HMRC’s response to tax evasion, the hidden economy and criminal attacks

HMRC proposals for tackling off-shore tax evasion seriously flawed

Anti-Money Laundering: under review

No place to hide: HMRC shines a light on tax havens

Close Load more

Skip to content Home About Us Insights Services Contact Accessibility