Record haul by HMRC in tax avoidance crackdown

Record anti-avoidance tax haul by HMRCBack in January we reported that HMRC had raised an extra £20.7 billion in additional revenue for the financial year 2012-13 as a result of it’s drive on tax compliance and a massive crackdown on tax avoidance by organisations and individuals alike. Now we can confirm that the financial year 2013-14 figures are in and HMRC has increased their haul to £23.9 billion in additional tax for the year – an all time record and one which represents 5% of the total tax yield for the year. This is an increase of £3.9 billion on the year before and it’s up a whopping £9 billion compared to 3 years ago. George Osborne will be doubly pleased because this year’s figure also beats the target he set in his Autumn Statement by £1 billion clear.

Of the £23.9 billion raised in these latest figures, £8 billion is derived from large businesses, £1 billion from criminals and a further £2.7 billion is the result of successfully tackling tax avoidance schemes in the courts. That leaves £12.2 billion which we Read more

The Taxpayers Charter & how it can help you

The Taxpayers CharterMany ordinary working taxpayers do not even know it exists, but The Taxpayers Charter is there to make sure that HMRC give you a service that is even-handed, accurate and based on mutual trust and respect. HMRC also want to make it as easy as possible for you to get things right.

The Charter is there to protect you and, better still, it gives you certain rights. In return for 3 simple obligations on your part (honesty, respect for HMRC staff and diligence to get things right) HMRC promises to:

  1. Respect you.
    This includes treating you with courtesy and making you aware of your rights;
  2. Help and support you to get things right.
    This includes processing the information you supply as quickly and accurately as possible and also correcting any mistakes as quickly as they can;
  3. Treat you as honest.
    This includes only questioning what you tell them if they have good grounds to do so;
  4. Treat you even-handedly.
    This includes consideration of any financial difficulties which you may be having and explaining what you can do if you disagree with their decisions, or if you wish to make a complaint;
  5. Be professional and act with integrity.
    Critically, this includes a useful sub-clause to ‘make sure that you are dealt with by people who have the right level of expertise‘ and another to ‘let you know how appeals, investigations or complaints are progressing‘. Here at Taxfile we feel that these may be the most helpful clauses of all, judging by past history;
  6. Tackle people who deliberately break the rules and challenge those who bend the rules;
  7. Protect your information and respect your privacy.
    This includes a sub-clause to respect your legal rights when they visit premises;
  8. Accept that someone else can represent you;
    Hey – we would be happy to represent you!
  9. Do all we can to keep the cost of dealing with us as low as possible.
    For example if you, or your representative (see clause 8 above) feel that an HMRC officer is relentlessly dragging out a tax enquiry with perhaps unfair queries, creating unnecessary work, then Read more

Enquiry Meeting:One Big Interview

According to the HMRC, during a tax investigation, meetings between the taxpayer and the tax inspector play a vital role.

Why is that? Because according to HMRC, this is the easiest way to obtain information about the taxpayer’s business and settle the enquiry faster.

Also, meetings between the taxpayer and the tax inspector ”ensure that, where omissions have been found, the taxpayer is aware what offence has been committed and the likelihood of penalties and of the benefits of co-operating in bringing about an appropriate settlement at the earliest possible date, but you should make it clear that it is entirely a matter for them to decide.”(Enquiry Manual, HMRC)

When dealing with a meeting with the taxpayer, the inspectors are advised to consider a few points :
•the purpose of the meeting,
•the reason of the meeting,
•list of questions to be answered by the taxpayer
•review of all the information held,
•establish the basis of settlement.

The Inspectors Enquiry Manual (EM1822) tells the Inspector that the meetings enable them to:
”•obtain facts from the taxpayer about the business, how it is run and the records that are kept;
obtain the facts in non-business enquiries;
•explain the purpose of your enquiry. Taxpayers may not always be fully aware of the extent of HMRC enquiries;
•establish whether the taxpayer wishes to disclose omissions;
•agree what action is required and by whom to move the enquiry towards conclusion;
•ensure that, where omissions have been found, the taxpayer is aware what offence has been committed and the likelihood of penalties and of the benefits of co-operating in bringing about an appropriate settlement at the earliest possible date, but you should make it clear that it is entirely a matter for them to decide.
•quantify and agree omissions;
•settle the enquiry.”(Enquiry Manual, HMRC)

What you need to realise when dealing with a tax investigation is that there is no legal obligation for you to attend a meeting/interview with the Inspector.
Also it is important to go through the structure of the meeting in advance with your tax agent.
It is vital while attending such a meeting to have appropriate representation.
Tax Investigations and conflicts with the HMRC can create difficult and stressful times for anyone involved as well as a big accountancy bill.
Here at Taxfile we have free-of-charge enquiry protection cover. The insurance will cover the whole costs involved in dealing with your tax investigation. For more details about our insurance policy come and see us in our office in Tulse Hill or Exeter.