The powers of HM Revenue and Customs to inspect business records, require information, raise assessments and enter premises have been completely and radically re-written with effect from 1st April 2009. Most commentators feel that the new “Rules of Engagement” of a tax enquiry give the taxman extensive and intrusive new powers, with very few safeguards for the business taxpayer, but with new penalties for failures to comply. It is essential for practitioners who deal with tax enquiries and investigations or who receive Information Notices to become thoroughly familiar with the new regulations and to be vigilant in upholding the few safeguards.
At a seminar organised by the ICAEW (Institute of Chartered Accountants for England and Wales) Paul Lynam (senior partner in Lynam Tax: specialists in managing Tax Enquiries) will cover the key aspects of the new Compliance Check legislation (Schedules 36-37 FA 2008), including:
- Information can be sought outside of an enquiry, for all taxes, for all years, in relation to past, present and even future tax liabilities;
- New rules on business record keeping requirements;
- Alignment of rules across all main taxes;
- “Real time” tax inspections;
- Visits to premises (and homes) can be made with only 7 calendar days notice – and without notice on occasions;
- Harsh penalties for obstruction;
- Very limited rights of appeal;
- 3rd parties to have to produce information as well as documents;
- Safeguards mainly in “internal guidance” to be rewritten and policed by HMRC;
- The end of the “Discovery” restriction – no more certainty?
- Changes to the assessing time limits;
- New “offences” for extended time limit assessing.
Booking details are available from the ICAEW website.