There may be nothing more certain in life than death and taxes, but one can also be assured that Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) department will ruthlessly investigate and prosecute any allegations of tax avoidance and evasion. Cheating the Revenue is a serious offence, and the investigative process can cripple families and lives.
If you are being investigated by HMRC, you need to instruct a barrister who is as fearless and ruthless as the department. I have over 15 years’ experience in criminal and civil defence, as well as in internal and external organisational investigations. I understand HMRC’s methods, strategies, and motivations and I will robustly defend you in any investigation and/or prosecution, shutting it down as quickly as possible.
What are the powers of the HMRC?
Over the last few years, HMRC has been radically strengthening its resources for tackling tax avoidance and evasion. The result has been a constant flow of new and strengthened powers. These powers can be grouped into four categories:
- Prevention and deterrence
In addition, further powers have been granted to allow HMRC to deal with cross-border tax avoidance and evasion.
Tax law is extremely complicated. To create a persuasive, strong defence, your tax offences barrister needs to have an in-depth understanding of both domestic and international tax law. I can give you the confidence that when instructing me, you will be working with a barrister who has the expertise and contacts to ensure expert evidence in your defence is obtained and robustly presented to the Court.
Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) reserves the right to prosecute the very broadly-defined offence of ‘cheating the revenue.’ The offence enables the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office (RCPO) to prosecute any offence which has the effect of defrauding monies from Her Majesty’s Revenue. Many different acts come under this umbrella definition, both old and new.
I have a large amount of experience in defending Revenue and Customs-led prosecutions and assisting clients during investigations by Local Compliance Officers. I can advise you at the earliest stage of your case and liaise with HMRC on your behalf to try to avoid prosecution or limit the penalty levied by HMRC.
What are the HMRC’s criminal investigatory powers?
Under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984, HMRC has the power to obtain a warrant to perform a search and seizure on your premises. They also have powers to arrest. However, not all powers available to the police can be exercised by HMRC; for instance, they cannot take fingerprints or charge a person. I will diligently examine the conduct of HMRC investigating officers and immediately identify if they have overstepped their powers, thus destroying the credibility of their case. If your home or business premises have been searched, I will quickly spot any flaw in their application to obtain a search warrant. If you have been subject to a raid, it is crucial you obtain a copy of the information placed before the judge when the application for a search warrant was made so that I can determine its validity. If you have not done this, I can obtain it on your behalf.
What is a section 20BA Order?
Under the Taxes Management Act 1970, the Court can make an order for the delivery of documents by a person who is not themselves suspected of committing fraud, provided that:
- there is reasonable ground for suspecting that an offence involving serious tax fraud is being, has been or is about to be committed, and
- documents that can be required as evidence for the purposes of any proceedings concerning an offence are in the power or possession of that person
If you have been informed of the intention for the HMRC to apply for a section 20BA Order, you must not conceal, alter, destroy, or dispose of any document relating to the Order until the application has been dismissed or the Order is complied with. You must also ensure you do not ‘tip-off’ anyone to who the investigation relates in a manner which may prejudice the process.
If you have been notified of a section 20BA Order, you should seek expert legal advice immediately. I will ensure the correct process for obtaining an order is followed, and your interests are always protected.