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Snitches Get Record Payments From UK Taxman

June 18th, 2015

The amount paid to informants by HM Revenue and Customs in the year to 31 March 2015 was a Record £605,000.  That’s a full 50% up on the amount paid out in the previous year, according to a report by Calum Fuller in Accountancy Age this week.

HMRC were keen to publicise the fact that the majority of their informants do not get paid anything.  Much of the information passed on to HMRC by informants is of negligible value, and is often incorrect or malicious.

HMRC were keen to assert: “Cash rewards are discretionary and based on what is brought in a direct result of the information provided”.  It has to be assumed that the recipients of the £605,000 had all passed on specific and valuable intelligence about tax evasion.

It is commonly said by tax inspectors that the most valuable sources of information are: disgruntled ex-employees, mistresses, and spurned wives!

How can Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts help me?
If you are undergoing a tax investigation or a compliance check then specialist help from Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts could save your blushes and your business.  Plus, our massive experience will almost certainly save you tax and penalties as well.

*For a free, confidential chat about your tax affairs, don’t delay, call Paul Lynam now on 0845 643 9997

or Andrew Nutbrown on 07718 778710

PAYE Thieving Nursery Owner Goes To Jail

June 17th, 2015

A co-owner of a chain of children’s nurseries has been sentenced to five and a half years in prison for tax fraud, after stealing £950,000 of PAYE tax deducted from his employees’ salaries.

Hampshire based Michael Everard Scott, aged 63, deducted Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions from his staff’s pay-packets: but did not pay it over to HM Revenue & Customs.  He also failed to contribute the connected employers’ NIC.  The taxman began a criminal tax investigation when ex-employees queried gaps in their Tax and NI records. The tax investigators proved that Scott (who also goes by the alias Stuart Wilson) had cheated the Exchequer and some 180 staff – between April 2007 and November 2011.

According to HMRC, Scott owns a vast property portfolio and a private aircraft.

Scott was charged with “offences contrary to section 1 of the Fraud Act 2006”, and found guilty by a jury, and then jailed for five and a half years.  On sentencing His Honour Judge Henry said: “This is a cheat of your fellow citizens, but the group you put at substantial risk is your staff. Your actions put in jeopardy their rights and entitlements.” His ex-wife was also originally arrested and charged too, but she was acquitted during the trial.

HMRC is assisting the victims, and has started confiscation action to recover the proceeds of these crimes.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
We have decades of extensive practical experience in managing tax disclosures and tax fraud investigations.  If you have irregularities in your tax affairs we can advise you on your best course of action.  If appropriate, we will help you with any disclosure.  If you are already under criminal investigation we can assist in the preparation of the defence case.  We can help get the best possible outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call


Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997


Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

What is the process for Internal Reviews?

June 10th, 2015

Where taxpayers and the taxman cannot resolve a dispute by negotiation, a less formal and cheaper alternative to going to the independent Tax Tribunal (or a handy additional route of appeal) is HMRC’s Internal Review process, (properly known as a Statutory Review).  Taxpayers have a statutory right to an Internal Review if they want one, but they are not compulsory.  A Statutory Review is available when HMRC issues an appealable notice of assessment or a Decision.

Direct tax appeals
Appeals in direct tax cases are made first to HMRC rather than the Tax Tribunal. A Statutory Review can only be triggered when an appeal has been made against an appealable decision made by HMRC and when:

  • the Tribunal the has not yet been notified of the appeal;
  • HMRC can offer the taxpayer a Review.

Only the taxpayer can notify the Tribunal of an appeal, HMRC cannot.  So offering a Statutory Review is the only way HMRC can progress matters when negotiations are at stalemate.

Where the taxpayer asks for a Statutory Review the taxman has to issue a Decision Letter within 30 days of the request. The Decision Letter must set out HMRC’s views, and state the tax they want. That letter triggers the start of the formal Statutory Review period.

Where the taxman offers the Review, the taxpayer has 30 days to either:

  • accept the offer of Statutory Review; or
  • appeal against the Decision to HMRC and then notify the Tax Tribunal of the appeal;
  • If the taxpayer does nothing then the matter is treated as finally settled on the basis set out by HMRC, unless the taxman accepts a late application.

The normal timescale for a Statutory Review is set at 45 days, but a different timeframe can be agreed between HMRC and the taxpayer.

Once HMRC has told the taxpayer its Review conclusion, the taxpayer can:

  • accept the conclusion;
  • or appeal to the Tax Tribunal within 30 days of the Review Conclusion Letter;
  • After 30 days an un-appealed Statutory Review Decision is treated as being agreed, unless the Tribunal accepts a late appeal;
  • Where HMRC do not complete the Statutory Review within the agreed period, then the HMRC’s Decision Letter is automatically upheld.  HMRC must notify the taxpayer of this as soon as possible. The taxpayer then has 30 days to appeal to the Tribunal;
  • The taxpayer can also notify an appeal directly to the Tax Tribunal: at any time between the original appeal and accepting the offer of a Review; or at any time between appealing and receiving HMRC’s latest view where a Review was requested; or within 30 days of either the Review Conclusion Letter, or the letter notifying that the Review has not been completed within the Review period.

Indirect taxes

For indirect taxes the Review must be offered at the same time as the Appealable Decision is notified to the taxpayer. The taxpayer can then accept the offer of the Review or make an appeal directly to the Tax Tribunal, within 30 days of the notification letter. If the taxpayer is not satisfied with the outcome of the Statutory Review an appeal can then be made, again directly, to the Tribunal.

How Reviews are conducted

Usually the Review Officer will be outside the direct line management chain of the original case worker or Decision-maker.  The Review Officer’s role is to check if the Decision is in line with the law and HMRC’s technical guidance, policies, and custom and practice. The Review officer has also to consider whether the case is one which HMRC would want to take to the Tax Tribunal (e.g. an important point of principle).  The taxpayer can submit extra information to the Review Officer, although if that is substantial the Review Officer is likely to refer it back to the case worker or Decision-maker whilst asking the taxpayer to agree to an extended Review period.

If you are undergoing a tax investigation or a compliance check then specialist help from Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts could save your blushes and your business.  Plus, our massive experience will almost certainly save you tax and penalties as well.

*For a free, confidential chat about your tax affairs, don’t delay, call Paul Lynam now on 0845 643 9997

or Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Where Do The Taxmen Get Their Intel.?

June 3rd, 2015

HMRC Intelligence?  Not necessarily a contradiction in terms!  One of the most commonly asked questions we get from people undergoing a tax enquiry or tax investigation is: what sources of information does HMRC have access to?

The list is potentially endless, of course, and the taxman is always trying to find more and new ways to get information which might lead to the unearthing of underpaid tax.  Two hot favourite sources at the moment are information from offshore financial institutions (e.g. Jersey Banks); and details of rental income from letting agents, university letting offices and housing benefit databases.   And HMRC are investing huge sums into their intelligent “Connect” computer system: which can analyse and link-up masses of data from a huge variety of sources: and compare it automatically to Tax Return information!

We sat down and brainstormed some of the sources we have known HMRC use in the last few years, and listed them below.  As you can see it’s a long list!

  1. Informers: e.g. disgruntled ex-employees, spurned mistresses, ex-wives!;
  2. Valuation Office and Land Registry, and EU tax authorities:  Property sale/purchase details;
  3. Banks: Information on bank accounts other investments (see Offshore Disclosures);
  4. Department of Work and Pensions:  Pensions + benefits paid;
  5. Local Councils and Public Authorities:  e.g. housing benefit, council tax, licensing, Taxi operator licences, Business Rate data etc; boat ownership details; Data on care and nursing homes; aircraft and their owners (Civil Aviation Authority); Housing benefits paid by claimants or paid directly to property landlords or agents;
  6. NIRS:  Information on National Insurance contributions, benefit claims and personal details;
  7. CSA: income and payment details;
  8. DVLA:  A full vehicle history; Cherished Number Plate sold at auction by DVLA;
  9. DWP computer system:  Can be used for tracing;
  10. Information in the ‘Public Domain’:  e.g. planning applications, publicly held registers, National Telephone Directory; Equifax/Experian credit checks, voters lists; FAME/DASH databases for  checks on Directors, Companies, shareholders; Adverts:  (Yellow pages, Thomson, Google Adwords etc); the Internet (e.g. Google, Yahoo, Ask Jeeves etc); garages licensed by the Vehicle Inspectorate as MOT testing stations; radio licenses granted to taxi operators by the Radio Communications Agency; Council Tax exemptions granted by local authorities for student accommodation;
  11. Enterprise Zone Property Trusts and similar syndicates: Information about income from investments;
  12. Approved Driving Instructors – membership list;
  13. Auctioneers: transactions handled on behalf of their clients;
  14. Chargeable Event Certificates (single premium investment bonds invested with Insurance Companies);
  15. Prescription Pricing Authority: payments to pharmacists for the cost of prescription drugs, appliances services & out of pocket expenses etc;
  16. Tax Exchange Information Agreements with overseas fiscal authorities: various data ;
  17. Companies House: re. directors disqualifications;
  18. VAT repayments made by C & E on self-build projects, barn conversions etc;
  19. Fees paid to entertainers, writers and sportsmen/women;
  20. Publicly funded: payments to expert witnesses in legal proceedings; grants and subsidies;
  21. Trading Standards departments re traders in their area;
  22. Legal Aid payments to solicitors and barristers by the Legal Services;
  23. Rental payments to land owners for the siting of mobile phone masts;
  24. Transactions handled by stockbrokers on behalf of their clients;
  25. Current holders of motor trade vehicle licence plates;
  26. Council Tax exemptions granted by local authorities for student accommodation.

If you are worried about a Tax Enquiry then Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts can help you.  For an initial free confidential discussion call:

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 0771 877 8710

Who are the Tax Ghostbusters?

May 27th, 2015

HMRC have always had special teams tracking down people who haven’t “joined the club” of taxpayers by telling the taxman that they have a source of income.  The current name for that unit is the Hidden Economy Team.  Previously theses teams have been known as the “black economy units”, and the tax inspectors usually call themselves the “Ghostbusters”, because their job is to hunt down “ghosts” and “moonlighters”.

Ghosts are people who run a business or have a source of income (e.g. a buy-to let landlord) but who haven’t told the taxman.  Moonlighters are already known to HMRC (e.g. as PAYE employee) but have an undeclared business “on the side” (e.g. eBay traders; employed electricians who work privately in the evenings or at weekends).

The Hidden Economy Teams were created to find information from multiple sources about tax evasion and people who were not in the tax system. The Hidden Economy Teams comb through publically available information and then search the HMRC databases to check if there are records for that activity.

Usually the first time someone knows they are being investigated by the ghostbuster team is a phone call, or when the brown envelope lands on the doormat, with a letter stating that HMRC have information which suggests that the individual may not have declared all of their income and asking them to make contact with the Hidden Economy Team.  It is a mistake to ignore such letters.  The taxman at that stage is looking to recover tax plus interest and penalties.  If the recipient doesn’t co-operate then HMRC may consider criminal prosecution.

The Hidden Economy Teams carry out over 30,000 Tax Investigations and generate about £150 million pounds (tax, interest and penalties) a year from tax evasion.

How Can Lynam Tax Investigation Specialists Help Me?

Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in dealing with the Hidden Economy Team and in managing tax investigations and Tax Disclosures and in many cases we have been able to substantially reduce the amounts of tax, interest and penalty being sought by HMRC.

If you get a letter from the HMRC Ghostbusters: Who you gonna call?

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 0771 877 8710

Tax Fraud Conviction for Ex-Taxman

May 26th, 2015

Neil James Foster was dismissed from HMRC’s contact centre in Peterlee in 2009.  He then started trading games consoles, video games and DVDs on the internet.  But the ex-HMRC employee decided to defraud his old department.  He was discovered, and convicted of tax fraud.

As well as the online trading business Foster worked for an energy company; receiving salary taxed under PAYE.  Foster, aged 32 from Easington, fraudulently declared that his online trading business was making losses (of almost £31,000) from 2009 to 2011– entitling him to claim repayments of his PAYE tax of £12,319.

HMRC discovered this and decided to launch a criminal tax investigation.  Foster attended a voluntary interview and in court pleaded guilty to 4 counts of “being knowingly involved in the fraudulent evasion of Income Tax”.  He was sentenced at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court on 22 May 2015 to 8months in prison (suspended for 12 months) and ordered pay £165 in costs.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
We have decades of extensive practical experience in managing tax disclosures and tax fraud investigations.  If you have irregularities in your tax affairs we can advise you on your best course of action.  If appropriate, we will help you with any disclosure.  If you are already under criminal investigation we can assist in the preparation of the defence case.  We can help get the best possible outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call


Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997


Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

”Ghost” Double-Glazing Salesmen Convicted

May 25th, 2015

One of HMRC’s Tax Taskforces checked on people operating as self-employed commission-based canvassers and salespeople in the double glazing industry. This has led to 2 Bradford based salesman being convicted for tax fraud: for failing to register with HM Revenue and Customs or declare their earnings of over £500,000.

Wesley Roetteis, aged 33, and Ashfaq Hussain, aged 40, had self-employed contracts with Safestyle UK.  They were responsible for their own tax affairs, but did not register as self-employed, and did not pay tax or National Insurance contributions.  Roetteis earned £450,000 from 2007 and 2014; evading paying Income Tax and National Insurance of £128,330.  Hussain earned £121,296 between 2007 and 2012.  In addition to evading the tax and NIC he also fraudulently received Tax Credits of around £37,000.

The Tax Taskforce obtained their details from Safestyle UK and found there was no record for them.  HMRC decided to proceed by way of a criminal tax investigation.  Both were sent letters stating they were under investigation for tax evasion and invited to attend voluntary interviews with HMRC officers.

In court both men pleaded guilty to “being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of Income Tax”, and Hussain also pleaded guilty to 5 counts of fraudulently obtaining benefits.  Both were sentenced at Leeds Crown Court on 20 May 2015 to 20 months in prison (suspended for 2 years) and ordered to perform 240 hours unpaid work.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
We have decades of extensive practical experience in managing tax disclosures and tax fraud investigations.  If you have irregularities in your tax affairs we can advise you on your best course of action.  If appropriate, we will help you with any disclosure.  If you are already under criminal investigation we can assist in the preparation of the defence case.  We can help get the best possible outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call


Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997


Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Will Lynam Tax have to report my tax evasion?

May 20th, 2015

Many people who contact us about tax evasion ask if we have to report them under the  Anti-Money Laundering Regulations.  The short answer is no.

February 2006 saw a significant change to the Money Laundering Reporting rules for certain tax investigation specialists, such as Lynam Tax.  Technically this is because we have been classified by law as “Relevant Professional Advisors” providing “Defined Services”.  The new rules and exemptions do not apply to all practitioners;  in particular they do not apply to people who are not members of approved professional bodies (like the ICAEW and ACCA to which we belong).  They will also not apply to many professional accountants who are members of such bodies, as they may not be covered by the “Defined Services” provision.

It is now possible for specialist professional tax investigation advisors like Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts to have meetings with people who have irregularities in their tax affairs in the strictest confidence.  As these meetings are to advise on tax law and how to regularise the situation, such meetings will be “privileged” for the purposes of the Money Laundering Rules. Consequently it would actually be illegal for us to disclose any contents of that meeting to anyone, even under the Money Laundering Regulations.

This means we have the same status as Lawyers in this regard. Indeed the guidelines say we are “expected to be bound by the same standards of behaviour as legal professional advisers (i.e. lawyers) subject to legal professional privilege”.   Any discussions with us are therefore subject to client/ attorney privilege.  This means you can come to us for advice about your tax affairs (including the most serious of tax frauds), without the fear of being reported.

What does this mean for me?

Very few people who have fiddled their tax get prosecuted in the UK each year.  HMRC prefer to obtain money settlements, usually under the Contractual Disclosure Facility.  It is usually only those few people who fail to properly handle a tax enquiry who end up with a criminal investigation.  So if your worry is about being prosecuted then the best thing you can do is to talk to us (in total confidence remember) as soon as possible. Where people speak to us soon enough we can usually ensure that the taxman does not prosecute.

Lynam Tax partners have a vast amount of practical experience in managing tax investigations and tax enquiries.  We have successfully persuaded HMRC to drop criminal charges in a number of cases (where they have already started proceedings) and we can also assist specialist defence solicitors in cases which do end up in court; when we have been able to substantially reduce the amounts of money being sought by HMRC.

We can advise you on the best course of action  in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.

For a free, strictly private, no obligation consultation, call:

Paul Lynam 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

What are the criminal tax charges?

May 13th, 2015

HMRC are responsible for investigating suspected crime involving all of the UK’s taxes. But the decision to bring a criminal prosecution is made by an independent prosecuting authority; the Central Fraud Group of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS).

The CPS usually brings one or more of the following charges against alleged tax evaders:

  • Fraud (s 1 Fraud Act 2006);
  • False accounting (s 17 Theft Act 1968);
  • Fraudulent evasion of VAT (s 72(1) VATA 1994);
  • Fraudulent evasion of income tax (s 144 FA 2000);
  • Cheat at Common Law

These offences all carry custodial sentences.  Under the Fraud Act an offender could face a maximum of ten years in prison.  The maximum penalty for common cheat is life imprisonment!  Although many tax evaders receive suspended sentences.

All defendants charged with a criminal offence make their first appearance before a Magistrates Court. In most cases of serious tax fraud the charge will be an ‘indictable’ offence, i.e. the case will be referred to the Crown Court by the magistrates for trial before a jury.

Lynam Tax Investigation Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations. If you are worried about a tax investigation we can advise you on the best course of action.  If appropriate, we can help you manage any necessary disclosures.  If you are facing criminal charges we can help you obtain first class legal representation, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call:

Paul Lynam today on 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Jail for Nottingham Loan Shark OAP Tax Fraudster

May 12th, 2015

A self-employed credit salesman, was sentenced to 18 months in prison at Nottingham Crown Court today; after being found guilty of evading £90,000 of tax.

Between November 2008 and May 2014 Anthony Lewis, aged 65 from Gamston in Nottingham, earned £350,000 in commission from his door to door business of selling short-term loans and collecting repayments.  He had never informed the taxman he was in business and so didn’t pay Income Tax or National Insurance Contributions on his earnings.

Lewis pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of Income Tax.

He pleaded guilty to 5 counts of “Fraudulent Evasion of Income Tax” and was sentenced to 18 months in prison on each count; the sentences to run concurrently.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
We have decades of extensive practical experience in managing tax disclosures and tax fraud investigations.  If you have irregularities in your tax affairs we can advise you on your best course of action.  If appropriate, we will help you with any disclosure.  If you are already under criminal investigation we can assist in the preparation of the defence case.  We can help get the best possible outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call


Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997


Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

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