Tax fraud: will I be charged?
Tax fraud, or tax evasion, is a criminal offence. Depending on the seriousness of the case, it may result in a criminal prosecution – so don’t delay if you fall under suspicion.
When HMRC alleges tax fraud, it’s best to seek advice straight away. Once either a criminal investigation or a civil investigation under the Contractual Disclosure Facility (CDF) is under way, the opportunity to make voluntary disclosures – occasionally with very beneficial terms, including immunity from prosecution – is removed. The penalties are higher too.
So, if there is a risk that HMRC believes tax fraud has been committed but hasn’t started either a criminal tax investigation or CDF investigation, call us now and Speak to the team.
In cases where tax fraud is suspected, but HMRC chooses not to pursue a criminal tax investigation, it will normally carry out the tax investigation under the CDF which is conducted with a view to settling the matter on a civil basis, for an amount of tax, interest and a financial penalty.
Some cases don’t even get to the level of a serious tax investigation and will be dealt with at an HMRC local office, it really depends on the nature of the suspected offence and the amount of money involved.
When and why are criminal charges deemed appropriate?
HMRC has its own criminal prosecution policy which can be found here. Criminal tax investigations are time-consuming, resource intensive and costly, so HMRC selects its cases carefully. The main triggers are:
- Materially false or forged documents or materially false statements have been made
- Repeated tax offences
- Wider criminality
- Serious organised crime
- Where an individual holds a position of trust or responsibility (such as a lawyer or accountant), or a well-known individual
- VAT – missing trader intra-community (MTIC) fraud
- VAT repayment fraud
- Organised Tax Credit fraud
In any of these scenarios, including a criminal investigation, inTAX can help. Our staff include ex-HMRC Inspectors who have worked in local offices, head offices and the Fraud Investigations Service (the former Specialist investigations), so they have a vast amount of experience in dealing with tax investigations, criminal prosecutions and voluntary disclosures.
If appropriate, we also work with lawyers providing the support the client needs.