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Rapid Response Team: 0800 559 3500
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539

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Rapid Response Team: 0800 559 3500
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539
Rapid Response Team: 0800 559 3500
Switchboard: +44 (0)203 947 1539

HMRC - Tax and VAT Investigations

Large-scale tax evasion is higher up HMRC’s agenda than ever before. Companies, partnerships and individuals that are investigated need representation from those who regularly challenge and negotiate with HMRC.

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Rahman Ravelli is recognised for being one of the top-tier legal firms when it comes to representing individuals and corporates in major tax investigations and prosecutions.

Our lawyers have the skills and the tactical acumen to secure the very best conclusion to tax matters in either a criminal or civil context. At any given time, they are involved in the most high-profile, high-value and complex national and global tax cases.

Large-scale tax evasion is now higher on HM Revenue and Customs’ (HMRC) agenda than it ever has been. Partnerships, limited liability partnerships, limited companies, public limited companies, sole traders and individuals are under greater scrutiny, having to meet tougher reporting requirements and facing greater chance of being investigated.

Rahman Ravelli excels when it comes to defending both the professionals and advisors who are the architects of tax schemes and the major business figures and high net worth individuals (HNWIs) who are the beneficiaries of such schemes.

We represent directors, chief executive officers, chief financial officers and all other senior business individuals, financial professionals and institutions, academics, lawyers and HNWIs who may be investigated regarding tax advice they have given, tax schemes that they are involved in or matters such as pension liberation.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has a wide range of powers; including the ability to raid premises. Those investigated by it must seek representation from lawyers with years of experience in challenging and negotiating with HMRC.

Rahman Ravelli is known for its astute handling of matters in order to secure a non-contentious resolution. But we also possess an admirable track record when it comes to representing clients in contested proceedings.

The Importance of the Right Response

With the HMRC having a wide range of powers, the right response can be the difference between a prosecution being brought and the HMRC deciding not to proceed. It can ensure that any allegations are successfully challenged and then dropped. And it can be the beginning of a course of action that means the best possible outcome is obtained, however unlikely that may have originally appeared.

Advice regarding what is the right response can only come from solicitors who are experts in this field and who have vast experience of dealing with the HMRC at the highest possible levels on the most challenging tax investigations.

As a firm that has spent decades challenging HMRC on everything from tax avoidance, pension liberation and the largest MTIC (missing trader intra-community fraud) and diversion fraud cases, we are well-versed in knowing how its investigators will act – and how best to respond to them.

HMRC Options

Tax investigations are rarely simple. They can be lengthy and complex. HMRC has a variety of penalties it can impose, from ordering the payment of unpaid tax through to handing down a fine or bringing a prosecution. An individual or organisation facing such an investigation cannot afford to treat the matter lightly. The potential penalties and long-term damage an investigation can cause make it imperative that the right advice is sought immediately.

If HMRC has reason to believe that you are not paying the right amount of tax via arrangements such as pension schemes, employee benefit trusts or other tax and investment schemes, it may open a Code of Practice 8 (COP 8) investigation to claim money it says it is owed plus additional penalties and interest. Where a serious tax fraud is suspected, HMRC may investigate using the Code of Practice 9 (COP 9) investigation of fraud procedure, whereby taxpayers are given the opportunity to explain via a Contractual Disclosure Facility all their deliberate and non-deliberate conduct that has led to irregularities in their tax affairs.

Tax Tribunals

HMRC decisions can usually be appealed. This is done initially by writing to HMRC and then, if that is not successful, by appealing to the tax tribunal system.

The tribunal system is two-tiered, with an appeal being made at first to the Tax Chamber of the First-Tier Tribunal.

If the First-Tier Tribunal’s decision is considered unsatisfactory by the appellant, they can appeal against it – if the First-Tier Tribunal grants permission – to the Tax and Chancery Chamber of the Upper Tribunal.

As with all aspects of dealing with the HMRC, a strong, reasoned and well-argued case is vital if success is to be achieved.

Criminal Finances Act 2017 – Failure to Prevent Tax Evasion

Since 30 September 2017, companies and partnerships can be held criminally liable, under the Criminal Finances Act 2017, if they fail to prevent the facilitation of domestic or overseas tax evasion; whether or not they were aware of or involved in the misconduct.

This offence of failure to prevent tax evasion gives considerable extra power to HMRC. It also places a great responsibility on those in business to ensure that they have adequate procedures in place to prevent the offence being committed. Having reasonable prevention procedures in place is the only defence to such an allegation.

Rahman Ravelli represents those facing such allegations. But we are also in demand for our ability to devise prevention procedures that can provide the defence to those allegations

Read our guide: "HMRC Tax And Vat Investigations: Using Our Expertise To Protect Your Interests" as we explain why Rahman Ravelli is the logical choice for the person or company that requires such advice.

Specialist Team

Azizur Rahman C 09369 Azizur Rahman
Senior Partner
+44 (0)203 911 9339
Niall Hearty C 07998 Niall Hearty
+44 (0)203 910 4565
Nicola Sharp C 09983 Nicola Sharp
+44 (0)203 910 4567
Fran Small Image Profile Page Francesca Cassidy-Taylor
Senior Associate
+44 (0)203 910 4560

Legal Articles

Missing Trader Intra-Community (MTIC) Fraud Explained
IntroductionMissing trader intra-community (also known as MTIC fraud) is a practice that involves the theft of value added tax (VAT) from governments. It is an activity that costs authorities in a num...

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HMRC Investigations are down
Niall Hearty of Rahman Ravelli considers the latest statistics regarding HM Revenue and Customs investigations.

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Tax Evasion vs Tax Avoidance - What Is The Difference?
Each and every business has to pay tax, as do the individuals that are part of it. For the individuals, they are likely to have to pay income tax and National Insurance while companies may have to pay...

9 min read - Published Feb 2024