Will the new corporate offence of failure to prevent tax evasion and enhanced international tax transparency change the landscape for tax investigations?
Chambers and Partners 2017
A tax investigation by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) could have serious implications for you and your business, potentially resulting in severe financial penalties or even criminal proceedings. 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.
Enforcement activity by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is at its highest for several years as successive governments have pledged to ‘clamp down’ on tax evasion and avoidance. New civil and criminal powers have emboldened HMRC, with record numbers of tax investigations and prosecutions being brought.
HMRC has renewed targets to prosecute wealthy individuals and corporates and is focussing on both UK and off-shore tax evasion. Those who are considered to be “professional enablers” such as accountants, solicitors and promoters of tax avoidance schemes are in the firing line. HMRC is increasingly resorting to coercive measures in order to obtain tax related information, including search and seizure and dawn raids. Tax investigations are regularly pursued in parallel with related money laundering proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA).
We have acted over many years for a variety of individuals and businesses who have found themselves subject to an HMRC investigation. This includes representing those subject to investigations regarding the alleged evasion of income tax, corporation tax, 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).
In the event of a “crisis situation” for example following arrest(s) or dawn raid(s), we are able to provide immediate advice and assistance, including attendance at the police station and advice on the scope and legality of search warrants.
We understand the impact a criminal investigation can have on your professional and personal life and have a good track record of resolving matters before charges are brought wherever possible.
We work closely with other specialist professionals (for example, forensic accountants and tax counsel), in order to persuade HMRC to resolve potential tax disputes in the cheapest and least stressful way for clients, be that through the tax tribunals, civil proceedings and/or settlements. In the event of criminal prosecution, both we and our associated professionals will ensure the strongest possible defence is advanced at court.
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
A standout firm - they are very focused, they have a significant number of real stars and they know what they are talking about."
Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession, 2016
technically expert, hard-working, efficient and a pleasure to deal with.”
Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession, 2015
It's a first-class service. "
Chambers UK, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession, 2014
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