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