HMRC TAX INVESTIGATION PROCESS

Before instructing us to act on their behalf, many of our clients want to understand the HMRC tax investigation process.

Regular questions are:

  • how serious is my HMRC tax investigation?
  • will I go to prison?
  • how will HMRC deal with me?
  • how long will my HMRC tax investigation take to settle?
  • how much will my HMRC tax investigation cost me in professional fees?

Here is our handy guide explaining what happens during an HMRC tax investigation. We stress this guide is designed to give you a snapshot only. For more detailed information please visit the dedicated pages highlighted within the text.

HOW SERIOUS IS MY HMRC TAX INVESTIGATION?

That rather depends on which procedure HMRC use – otherwise known as the Code of Practice. For example an HMRC tax investiation letter issued under Code of Practice 9 letter will come from HMRC’s fraud investigation service. HMRC tax investigation letters under this procedure carry the utmost gravity. Second only to a HMRC criminal investigation. Your tax investigation letter will include a Code of Practice 9 leaflet which gives detailed information. Effectively an HMRC guide tothe  COP 9 procedure; including your rights and obligations.

The Code’s of Practice used by HMRC are:

  • Code of Practice 8 – How HMRC investigate cases of suspected tax avoidance
  • Code of Practice 9- How HMRC investigate cases of suspected serious tax fraud
  • Code of Practice 11 – How HMRC local compliance carry out a check of self assessment tax return and claims made outside of a tax return
  • Code of Practice 26 – How HMRC deal with overpaid tax credits

Detailed information on each Code of Practice can be found by clicking on the relevant link highlighted above.

WILL I GO TO PRISON?

Criminal prosecutions are rare and generally reserved for the most serious cases of tax fraud. However, if you fail to give a civil tax investigation the respect it deserves and begin to lie or manipulate, you could very quickly find yourself in serious trouble. Specialist tax investigation advice is absolutely key to ensuring that your HMRC investigation is handled correctly.

Please click on the relevant link for more detailed information:

  • Civil Investigation of Fraud
  • Contractual Disclosure Facility
  • Code of Practice 9
  • Tax Credit Investigations

HOW WILL HMRC DEAL WITH ME?

The relevant Code of Practice, will give you some useful background, but as with any process HMRC tax investigations are subject to specific circumstances and other extraneous factors such as the approach and personality of the tax inspector conducting your case. A tax investigation specialist will ensure that HMRC operate within the confines of their powers and importantly ensure that your rights are protected.

HOW LONG MY HMRC TAX INVESTIGATION TAKE TO SETTLE?

This is perhaps the most difficult question to answer. It rather depends on the nature and extent of HMRC’s concerns, your conduct and of course how good your tax investigation adviser is and what their motivation is.

Are their motivations about you? Or are they about securing the maximum professional fees possible?

What we can promise is to seek resolution to your HMRC tax investigation in the shortest time frame possible, with no compromise on quality. Our fees are unbeatable in the industry sector, our fee is structure open and transparent and our average engaged case time to settlement – across tax investigations of varying complexity – is just 6 months.

You may also wish to read our guide to factors influencing the duration of your tax investigation – How long will my tax investigation take?

HOW MUCH WILL MY HMRC IT COST ME IN PROFESSIONAL FEES?

See above and visit our fees page for more information. We will always deal with your HMRC tax investigation on its merits, treat you as an individual and tailor our fees accordingly. You will never pay more than you need to. We have written a comprehensive guide to HMRC settlements which can be found by clicking on the link below.

INTEREST AND PENALTIES

HMRC will to charge you interest on any taxes underpaid from the proper due date up until date of payment. Interest rates vary at just above the Bank of England base rate. This may seem generous, but if you are faced with a settlement spanning several tax years the costs can quickly spiral. Admiral Tax deal with HMRC Investigations every day. It is at the core of our business. We are never distracted by other areas of tax work, so you are guaranteed dedicated, specialist time on your tax investigation case. Please visit our tax investigation services page for more information.

Get in touch

If you have any questions or concerns then please do give our friendly team a call on 0330 999 5000.