Tax legislation can often seem exceptionally complicated with the number of government departments and police bodies potentially involved in the investigation of a breach, alongside the steps required to ensure full compliance and due diligence.
What is the role of HMRC in upholding the law?
HMRC – Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – is one of the UK’s largest law enforcement agencies. Their aim is to ensure equality and compliance for businesses and individuals.
- State support payments
- The collection of taxes
- Regulatory regimes including the minimum wage
The agency will investigate individuals or organisations that are not declaring their full business activity or avoiding paying their required amount of tax, along with those that are accruing debt.
How can HMRC investigate potential offences?
An important part of HMRC’s overall enforcement strategy is criminal investigation, which is used for the majority as a warning strategy to other individuals or companies.
As part of an investigation, HMRC may:
- Make arrests
- Apply for search warrants
- Search suspects and premises following arrest
- Apply for orders requiring information to be produced
In more serious cases HMRC can also apply for permission to use intrusive surveillance powers which could include property interference or even the interception of post and telecommunications. This activity has to be personally approved by the Home Secretary.
HMRC investigations can prove intrusive to a company’s operation or an individual’s lifestyle, so if you are facing an investigation you should seek specialist legal advice as soon as you are able to do so.
How can solicitors help if you are accused of an HMRC offence?
At Lawtons, our specialist regulatory law solicitors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and 365 days per year. We can react quickly to any HMRC query, working with you through the whole process to ensure you achieve the best outcome for you and your business.
We can offer in-depth advice, guidance and support through the entire investigatory process as well as provide immediate representation to show you are cooperating with HMRC.
We can also operate – where appropriate – with indemnity insurers, or work with you to organise affordable payment plans, or fixed stage fees that accommodate HMRC demands.
If you are faced with an HMRC criminal investigation, knowing where to begin with a response can seem daunting, particularly when you are faced with the strict timescales for cooperation.
For more information or to discuss an individual case with our team of specialist HMRC solicitors, please get in touch.