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