HMRC Criminal Investigations
HMRC have complete discretion to conduct a Criminal Investigation in any case.
Advice at the earliest opportunity is essential in all HMRC Enquiries and Investigations
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HMRC Criminal Investigations – What you should know
Tax prosecutions are handled by the HMRC Criminal Taxes Unit (CTU); a branch of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service.
Whilst it is HMRC policy to deal with most suspected Tax Fraud and Evasion by use of the Contractual Disclosure Facility Code of Practice 9 (“HMRC investigations where we suspect tax fraud”) procedures, there are certain cases which will be considered for criminal investigation such as:
- Where an individual holds a position of trust or responsibility;
- Where materially false statements are made or materially false documents are provided in the course of a civil tax investigation;
- Where, pursuing a tax avoidance scheme, reliance is placed on a false or altered document or such reliance or material facts are misrepresented to enhance the credibility of a scheme;
- Where deliberate concealment, deception, conspiracy or corruption is suspected;
- In cases involving the use of false or forged documents;
- Where the perpetrator has committed previous offences / there is a repeated course of unlawful conduct or previous civil action
- It is also expected that fraudulent Furlough Claims will be reviewed for prosecution.
Criminal Investigations can involve the full use of Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) powers e.g.: surveillance; interviews under caution; searches of homes, business premises and even individuals, accompanied by uniformed police and possibly involving seizure of cash, computers, business and personal financial records, and other assets. This alone can cause serious disruption to a business – and indeed a client’s private life – so it is essential that the allegations are tackled in the most appropriate manner as soon as possible as it can be many months or even years before charges are laid.
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