Latest News

0845 643 9997

Taskforce Latest: Property Tax Dodgers

September 18th, 2014

HMRC announced the creation of their most recent taskforce last week: aimed at catching people in the South West of England and South Wales who have sold or rented out properties without declaring the Capital Gains or the rental income.

The taxman claims to have recovered over £12 million as a result of similar property tax taskforces in London, south east England and Yorkshire: “using intelligence from the Valuation Office Agency”; and to currently have over 80 cases under criminal investigation. This latest taskforce is expected to recover £5 million.

HM Revenue & Customs has instigated 70 taskforces since 2011 and is planning 30 more for the current tax year.

How can Lynam Tax experts help me?
If you are in a sector targeted by an HMRC campaign you may need assistance with your disclosure. In any event, if you have any irregularities in your tax affairs you could benefit from our expert help. Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have enormous experience of tax investigations and tax disclosures.

For a confidential and free initial discussion phone the experts now:

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 0771 877 8710

Penalties for PAYE Real Time Information Failures and Errors

September 16th, 2014

From late in the tax year 2014/15 HMRC will be charging penalties on employers who report their payroll information later than the due date.  The date of introduction of the penalties is staggered depending on the size of the workforce.

Penalties will apply from 6/10/2014 for employers with 50 or more employees, and from 6/3/2015 to all other employers.

How do the penalties for late filing work?
Penalties can be charged where: the Full Payment Summary (FPS) is late; or you don’t send the expected number of FPSs; or you didn’t send an Employer Payment Summary (EPS) in a tax month when you didn’t pay any employees.  Penalties will not be charged if:  it’s your first late report of the tax year, or if you’re a new employer and you sent your first FPS within 30 days of paying an employee.

The size of the monthly penalty depends the size of the workforce: i.e.  the penalties for each band of employees is as follows: 1-9, £100; 10-49, £200; 50-249, £300; 250+, £400.  If you’re over 3 months late you can also be charged a further penalty of 5% of the tax and National Insurance that should have been reported on time.

The taxman will send penalty notices in July, October, January and April.  Penalties are payable within 30 days: with interest charged for late payment.  From October 2014, appeals can be made online.  The main grounds of appeal are likely to be that HMRC have made an error (e.g. the return was filed on time), or that you had a “Reasonable Excuse” for not being able to file on time.

What else happens if I don’t file on time?
If either: you don’t send your FPS on time or inform HMRC that you haven’t paid any employees (by sending an EPS), they may raise a “Specified Charge “, i.e. an estimate of how much HMRC thinks you should pay -based on your previous PAYE payment and filing history.  A Specified Charge doesn’t displace the requirement to submit a FPS or EPS.  Only by sending the missing FPS or EPS with the due tax for that month can the Specified Charges be dislodged.  HMRC say that “If instead you send in updated year to date figures in your next FPS, the Specified Charges will remain in place, but your accounting record will be adjusted – to reflect the year to date figures supplied in the later month”.

What are the penalties for errors?
In addition to the late filing penalties, there are also the normal tax geared penalties where the returns are incorrect due to an error.  No penalties are charged for errors in cases where reasonable care was taken.  In cases where insufficient care was taken the penalties can still be reduced to nil by making a full and unprompted disclosure to HMRC.  Penalties get proportionately higher for cases of “Careless error”, “Deliberate error”, and “Deliberate error with concealment”, and also in cases of “Prompted disclosures”, and poorer quality disclosures.  The maximum penalty can be up to 100% of the tax underdeclared – and 200% in cases where offshore bank accounts are involved.

How can Lynam Tax Investigation Experts help me?
Lynam Tax partners have a vast amount of practical experience in managing tax investigations and tax enquiries.  We can advise you on the best course of action and if appropriate, help you manage any necessary disclosures, 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

or Andrew Nutbrown on:  07718 778710

Exchange of Information powers

September 15th, 2014

The UK tax authority, HM Revenue & Customs can get information from a very large number of countries round the world, and give those countries information too.

There are two major legal routes for the taxmen to pass information over their borders.  Firstly the Mutual Assistance Directive (MAD) between EU member states. This requires EU member states to provide each other with information in order to determine tax liabilities.  It also allows, say, HMRC in the UK to use some other member state’s Tax Information Powers in order to obtain details e.g. from say a bank in that other country.  The EU MAD also provides for relatively simple cross-border debt collection, bankruptcy and extradition procedures.

Secondly, the UK now has a large number of treaties with overseas countries (including many usually or previously considered as tax havens).  These treaties provide for exchange of information.  The two normal arrangements are Double Tax Agreements (DTA’S) and Tax Information Exchange Agreements (TIEA’S) – see our other articles.  The UK now has DTAs and TIEAs with the majority of countries in the world: including recent ones with so-called tax haven countries.

If you are concerned about an offshore bank account or offshore assets, or have any historic tax liabilities that are worrying you, or think the Offshore Disclosure Facility Tax Amnesty may benefit you:  then Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts can help. Call today for a confidential, discreet discussion with our experienced Tax Dispute Specialists.

Call Paul Lynam now on 0845 643 9997

or Andrew Nutbrown: 0771 877 8710

Jail Time for Tyrone Tax Fraud Farmer

September 11th, 2014

A farmer from County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, was jailed for 6 months this week for a £1.3 million VAT fraud.

Gerald Moane, aged 46, from Fivemiletown Co. Tyrone created fake purchase invoices purporting to be for machinery and farming.  After an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs he pleaded guilty to 23 charges of Tax fraud and was sentenced to 16 months in prison and 20 months on licence.

HMRC are aiming to “recover the proceeds of his crime” at confiscation hearing soon.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations.  If you are worried about a tax enquiry 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: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Fugitive Fraudulent Farmer Found Guilty

September 10th, 2014

A Worcestershire farmer, who at one time fled to Zimbabwe in order to escape prosecution by the taxman, was sentenced to 36 months in prison this week – after being found guilty of a tax fraud involving £1.4m of VAT over a 3 year period.

Paul David Hussell (aged 50), sent in 41 false VAT repayment claims relating to his father’s tenanted farm.  According to HMRC: “He used money from the fraud to buy an Aston Martin DB9 and a six-berth Regal motor cruiser – purchases he kept secret from his wife”.   The tax fiddle was uncovered by a VAT officer during a routine check of the monthly VAT returns.

HM Revenue and Customs criminal investigators originally arrested Hussell in November 2011.  However, in order to avoid further question questioning he fled to Zimbabwe.  Following a period of ill-health he returned to the UK in late 2012, and was re-arrested and charged in November 2013 when tax inspectors found him hidden in the farm’s bathroom. During the house search the tax investigators found false invoices hidden under a wardrobe.

HMRC have started proceedings to get the money back, using the Proceeds Of Crime Act.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations.  If you are worried about a tax enquiry 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: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

What are the Taxman’s Surveillance Powers?

September 8th, 2014

Reports in the press say that public bodies like HMRC are getting authority to carry out surveillance on huge numbers of UK citizens – more than 1% of the population each year – under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000.

The Home Office have published draft codes of practice concerning the use, by public authorities, of powers conferred by RIP 2000.  The code most relevant to tax investigations is “Covert Surveillance”.  Covert Surveillance is carried out in a way to ensure the subject is unaware of it.

The code runs to 30 pages, but some brief extracts give a good flavour of how the taxman will operate in a tax investigation.

“…HMRC officers might covertly observe and then visit a shop as part of their enforcement function to verify the supply … of goods…Such observation may include the use of equipment [e.g. cameras]…where this does not involve systematic surveillance of an individual.  It forms part of the everyday functions [of HMRC]…This low-level activity will not usually be regulated under …the Act”.
“Directed Surveillance is conducted where it involves the observation of a person…with the intention of gathering private information to produce a detailed picture of a person’s life, activities associations”.
“Intrusive surveillance” takes place inside residential premises or vehicles; i.e. telephoto spying.

Where a tax investigator wants to use carry out Directed or Intrusive Surveillance he needs written authority from a senior tax inspector, usually in the same office. Covert surveillance does not require such authorisation but the code suggests that best practice and the need to get evidence admitted in criminal proceedings [which per the Human Rights Act could include cases termed civil by HMRC e.g. Contractual Disclosure Facility (Code of Practice 9) cases] is that authorisation should be sought in all cases.

What does it mean for me?

If you are worried that the taxman has put you under surveillance then you are probably undergoing a tax investigation. Lynam Tax specialise in dealing with HMRC and are experts helping people under enquiry.

If you need advice and help in a difficult Tax Enquiry email:  partners@lynamtax.co.uk, or call:

Paul Lynam on 0845 643 9997
or Andrew Nutbrown on 07718 778710

What are the current assessing Time Limits?

September 3rd, 2014


During the current tax year (2014/15) HMRC can raise assessments to income tax and capital gains tax:

  • For 2013/14 normally from the anniversary of the date the return was filed onwards, even in the absence of a “discovery”;
  • For 2010/11 – 2012/13 if they can make a “discovery”, even if there is only an “innocent error”;
  • For 2008/09 – 2009/10  if they can show carelessness by the taxpayer or by his or her agent;
  • For 1994/95 – 2007/08  if they can show a deliberate error or deliberate failure to notify chargeability; or a failure to disclose a tax scheme within DOTAS.

How can Lynam Tax Investigation Experts help me?

Lynam Tax enquiry experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing tax investigations and tax enquiries.  We can advise you on the best course of action and if appropriate, help you manage any necessary disclosures, 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
or Andrew Nutbrown on 07718 7787

FAQ: Dishonest Conduct by Tax Agents Rules

September 2nd, 2014

Legislation came into force from 1 April 2013 to allow HM Revenue & Customs to: investigate suspected “Dishonest Conduct” by tax agents; penalise dishonest conduct that leads to an underpayment of tax by their clients; and also to name and shame the offending tax advisers.

The legislation can apply to anyone who acts in the capacity as a tax agent, and is not restricted to qualified accountants, tax advisers or lawyers.  It will apply across all taxes and duties administered by HMRC, except Customs Duty and tax credits.  It applies to dishonest conduct on or after 1 April 2013.

The key powers are:

  • Information Powers for HMRC to obtain documents in the possession of the tax agent, including their working papers;
  • Penalties ranging from £5,000 – £50,000; dependent on the “behaviour” of the tax adviser.  With a facility to reduce penalties below £5,000 in “special circumstances”;
  • The potential to publically name and shame the tax agent’s details: although these will not be published where the penalty is £5,000 or lower.

Agents have a right of appeal to the Tax Tribunal, in respect of the proposed file access notice and any penalties charged.

What does this mean for me?
If you are a tax agent who is being looked at by HMRC using these new rules, or if you are a taxpayer whose agent is being examined, then you need to be aware that HMRC have very serious concerns. Not only can this lead to penalties and naming and shaming for the tax agent, but could also lead to intrusive in-depth tax investigations into all their clients, and which could lead to criminal prosecution.

How can Lynam Tax Investigation Experts help me?

Lynam Tax investigation specialists have a massive amount of experience in dealing with HMRC tax disputes, including the use of information powers and penalty notices.  We can assist you with these very troublesome matters. For an initial free, and no obligation discussion, phone:

Paul Lynam today on 0845 643 9997
or Andrew Nutbrown on 07718 778710

Tagging Tax Dodgers: Managing Serious Defaulters

September 1st, 2014

HMRC launched its Managing Serious Defaulters (MSD) regime in March 2013 which replaces and expands the previous Managing Deliberate Defaulters (MDD) scheme, launched in February 2011 with the aim of keeping known “tax cheats on the straight and narrow through close monitoring”.

Over 3,000 tax dodgers had been placed in the MDD programme in its 2 year lifespan.  Under Managing Serious Defaulters the taxman will closely monitor the tax affairs of even more individuals and businesses for up to 5 years.  In addition to tagging people who have deliberately evaded tax, HM Revenue and Customs will now also closely monitor the tax affairs of people and businesses “who deliberately choose not to pay what they owe”, i.e. bankrupts, and insolvent companies and their directors.

HMRC say the purpose of the Managing Serious Defaulters programme is “to ensure compliance with tax obligations and a permanent change of behaviour”.

Tax evaders who will be tagged under MSD can include anyone who:

  • is charged a civil evasion penalty; or
  • is required to give a security deposit for VAT, Environmental Taxes, PAYE or NICs; or
  • became deliberately insolvent as a way of dodging their business taxation obligations.

Extra scrutiny under MSD can include the tax inspectors:

  • making unannounced visits;
  • using their information and inspection powers to obtain and check records;
  • carrying out in-depth compliance checks;
  • surveillance of businesses and individuals;
  • observing and recording business activities and cross-checking to the business records and accounts.

HMRC warn that “Tax Defaulters who fail to keep their tax affairs in order may face criminal proceedings”.

How can Lynam Tax Enquiry Specialists 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

Resident and Negligent

August 21st, 2014

The First Tier Tribunal decided earlier this year that the taxpayer, a merchant banker named Paul Daniel, was UK Resident for tax purposes, despite his move to Brussels in 1999.  They also decided that his claim was made “negligently”: allowing HMRC to issue an extended time limit assessment for 1999/2000 – on a Capital Gain of £20million.

The FTT described this as “a hard-fought residence appeal.” The Tax Tribunal said the burden of proof was on Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs to show that Mr Daniels was negligent.  If he was, then the burden of proof was on Mr Daniels to show that he had indeed become Non-Resident in the UK.  The judges stated that “if the claim is plainly honest, and also tenable (even though borderline) there should be no risk of negligence being established”.

HMRC challenged his Tax Residence status on the basis that he was not employed full-time abroad: partly as he had performed “substantive duties” of “particular significance” in the UK.

In this case the Tribunal was particularly troubled by the fact that the appellant’s claims were not backed up with sufficient evidence.  The judges noted that “his evidence was not backed up by a single written document of any sort (fax, email, records of phone call, any sort of timesheets or any copy of any presentation made to any potential customer)”.  They went on to say that “much depends on the credibility of the appellant’s evidence”.  In reaching their judgement that he had not left the UK to work full-time abroad, and that he had been negligent in claiming to do so, the Tribunal clearly had grave doubts about the accuracy of his evidence.  For instance, they decided that his contention regarding the amount of work he did outside the UK was “untenable” and they stated that “he has certainly not helped his case by providing no documentation whatsoever”
.
What does this mean for me?
This case (TC03312) demonstrates the point that in any tax assessment appeal hearing before the independent Tax Tribunal it is crucial to gather all the available evidence, and to present this clearly to the Tribunal.  Also, any evidence which is going to be given by way of testimony from the appellant needs to be rigorously tested in advance, so that it can be put clearly, accurately and tenably to the judges during the hearing.  Although there were a few technical tax issues at stake, ultimately this case was lost on the basis of the facts – or lack of them.  Facts and evidence do not emerge by themselves.  They have to be presented by the appellant and his advisers to the Tribunal at the hearing.  If you have a contentious tax appeal – whether it’s regarding tax residence or otherwise – it is crucial that your team provides as much evidence as possible, fully and effectively, at the Tribunal hearing.

How can Lynam Tax Appeal Experts Help Me?
Lynam Tax Appeal Experts have prepared for many Tribunal hearings and the process has usually meant HMRC conceding before the formal meeting.  We have also presented many cases successfully at formal contentious hearings, and we are currently assisting a number of clients through the Alternative Dispute Resolution; Internal Review; and Tribunal processes. We will fight your corner tenaciously, but also with the subtlety and skill honed from nearly 70 years’ combined real experience.

*If you need help with a difficult tax dispute or a contentious tax appeal call now for a confidential and no obligation discussion:

Paul Lynam:  0845 643 9997
Andrew Nutbrown:  07718 778710

Previous Posts