This client runs a retail outlet in London and had received a VAT and Customs investigation from HMRC. The client was naturally quite nervous despite being up to date and having paid all their taxes due. Our tax specialists reviewed the client’s records in depth and proposed to meet with the HMRC inspectors. The meeting lasted for approximately an hour and soon HMRC officers accepted that there were no major issues with the company’s VAT and Customs liabilities and that the client’s arrangements were in good order. This was subsequently confirmed in writing by HMRC. We are grateful to the HMRC officers involved for their quick understanding of our client’s business and their pragmatic approach bringing the enquiry to a closure.
Our analysis: This was an interesting case where our firm and HMRC worked in cooperation to bring an early and effective closure to a tax investigation. We have seen numerous cases where due to the wrong or defensive stance taken by ordinary accountants, the relationship is tarnished and causing irreversible damage to the enquiry.
After our successful seminar on 28 February 2018 at Doubletree Hilton, Holborn, London, we have been requested by a large number of candidates to host regular webinars in relation to tax investigations and various technical tax issues. Our first webinar will be held on 28 March 2018 at 1pm and will cover detailed insight into “Tax investigations and how to get these closed effectively”. If you would like to attend the webinar, please register your interest at firstname.lastname@example.org. The webinar will count towards your CPD if this is relevant to you.
This case was referred to us from another accounting firm in London. The client had been under enquiry for some time for undeclared income relating to the main business. HMRC’s focus was that the business had undeclared sales and that the director had been pocketing the cash sales to fund his living costs. Our tax investigation specialists considered the case in depth and how the business sales had been recorded and declared in the VAT and corporation tax returns. We also considered how the director’s lifestyle had changed over the years which showed that in reality our client’s financial position had deteriorated as the business was struggling. This was proven by way of a capital statement presented to HMRC. After HMRC concluded the enquiry for the business where some additions were made to the sales, HMRC accepted our case that there were no changes required to the director’s self assessment tax returns. The director had initially been advised that there would be a significant amount of tax and penalties payable and that he may be made bankrupt. However, after our successful negotiations, the enquiry was closed with no tax to pay. Our team at Churchill Tax Advisers is grateful to the HMRC officers involved in the case for understanding and accepting our client’s deteriorating financial position.
Our analysis: This case was referred to us after the client had been badly let down by their previous accountant. The enquiry was connected with another enquiry into the director’s limited company where HMRC suspected undeclared sales which our client blamed on the previous accountant. In our experience people get what they pay for in terms of accounting services and the quality of work done. Each time we receive a tax investigation case from another accountant, we notice a common trend of trying to pay the lowest possible accountancy fee and hence receive bad advice before they are investigated by HMRC. After the investigation, most businesses pay significantly more in fees, taxes, penalties and possible prosecution (which taxpayers normally attempt to blamed on their former accountants but it does not help their case).