Tax Prosecution and Criminal cases
HMRC's policy is to deal with most Tax Fraud and Evasion cases by using the civil Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF) procedures. But the tax authority has complete discretion to conduct a Criminal Investigation in any case it sees fit. The taxman usually does this when he wants to send a “strong deterrent message”; or where he feels the case is so serious (or “heinous” in official-speak) that only a criminal sanction is appropriate; or where the evidence HMRC has received is overwhelming.
Most criminal tax investigations are commenced by HMRC based on evidence they have received from 3rd parties (e.g. offshore banks). Often the first the target wil know of this is usually when they get a letter inviting them to an interview under caution at their local police station; or when they are subject to a "dawn raid". At these stages matters have got very advanced are very serious. It is imperative that the subject gets specialist professional help immediately.
Some criminal cases emerge from ongoing civil tax enquiries. If a tax inspector in a Local Compliance investigation uncovers evidence of tax fraud the papers will be referred to the Fraud Investiagtion Service ("FIS") to consider whether to to proceed on civil or criminal lines. In a civil case HMRC are pursuing the tax, interest and penalties. In a criminal case they are looking to secure a conviction (preferably with a prison sentence) and they also seek to collect tax and interest and costs by way of a Confiscation Order. When FIS consider whether a case should be investigated under the Contractual Disclosure Facility procedures or a Criminal Investigation, a key factor is whether the taxpayer has made a “complete and unprompted Disclosure of the offences committed” at that stage.Where a taxpayer is then investigated using the civil suspected serious tax fraud CDF procedures (aka Code of Practice 9) but does not subsequently fully co-operate; or makes a denial; or makes materially false disclosures: then HMRC will often feel obliged to prosecute.
HMRC has published its prosecution policy. Cases where it will usually consider Criminal, rather than Civil, Investigations include:
- Materially false statements made, or materially false documents provided, in the course of a civil tax investigation;
- Deliberate concealment, deception, conspiracy or corruption is suspected;
- cases involving false or forged documents;
- Previous Tax fraud offences; or a repeated course of unlawful conduct; or a previous Civil Investigation [particularly where they involve incorrect Statements of Assets or Certificates of Full Disclosure];
- People in positions of trust or responsibility (e.g. a company FD who is a qualified accountant, or JP);
- In a Tax Avoidance scheme - where reliance is placed on false or altered documents; or material facts are misrepresented.
Criminal Tax Investigations can involve the full use of Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) powers including: surveillance; “dawn raids”, with HMRC entering by force if necessary; questioning under caution; arrests accompanied by uniformed police; charging; possible detention without bail; surrender of passport; seizing of cash, computers and other assets; fingerprinting; mug-shots; court appearances; searches of homes, business premises, premises of known associates and family members; Confiscation Orders; curfews; electronic tagging; and custodial prison sentences. They can be very stressful and very costly: frequently leading to businesses closing; the loss of assets; and family breakups.
Get out of jail free card! Time limited offer!
Almost anyone who is worried that they may be subject to a criminal investigation for tax fraud can get guaranteed immunity from prosecution - by registering for the Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF); and then going on to make a full voluntary disclosure. But you must register before the taxman commences any enquiries. Our tax investigation specialists have a massive amount of experience in helping clients with the CDF, and are ready to assist you now.
How can Lynam Tax Fraud Investigation Experts help me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have a long history of successfully helping clients avoid prosecution, and of persuading HMRC to drop Criminal Prosecutions in favour of Civil Tax Investigations. Where HMRC do pursue a Criminal Investigation we have a great deal of experience of working closely with top quality defending solicitors, and in the preparation and checking of HMRC's evidence: which can often lead to reductions in sentence and large reductions in the amount HMRC seek to recover by way of Confiscation Orders.
For a no obligation and completely confidential discussion:
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We specialise in managing all Tax Enquiry, Tax Disclosures & Tax Disputes with HMRC.
We will help you throughout the Tax Investigation or Disclosure and save you money, so you can concentrate on running your business and enjoying your private life.
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