Are you worried about a VAT investigation?
Perhaps you have received a notification from HMRC of an inspection? Whatever the circumstances Churchill Tax Investigations can guide you through the entire process. A VAT investigation may be carried out if your business falls into one of the high risk categories or a routine inspection has identified any irregularities. HMRC may decide to exercise their powers in line with the Criminal Investigation of Fraud procedures or instigate criminal proceedings if the case is particularly serious. For those who are successfully prosecuted the penalty can potentially be term in prison.
HMRC can choose to intervene either through issuing the business with a pre-notification of an enquiry or conducting an unannounced visit to the business premises. During either of these processes you must fully cooperate with HMRC, attending interviews as required and providing all documentation requested by the investigation team. As soon as you become aware that HMRC are conducting an inspection it is vital that you seek advice from a tax specialist. Our team can help you through what can be a difficult time for many businesses and provide you with the right advice. Churchill Tax Investigations can also make sure that you have the correct representation at each stage throughout the investigation.
Once HMRC have concluded their review of your business, they will provide you with their initial findings. Usually they will provide you with an assessment of the VAT that has been over claimed or under reported along with a penalty for the error. With experienced tax advisors such as ourselves managing the process for you we may be able to help reduce the penalties which are payable and negotiate a more suitable payment plan.
The penalties that you will have to pay will vary in severity depending on the reasons why the error was made. The more serious the reason (deliberate or fraudulent behaviour), the higher the penalty will be. The amount that you will have to pay is calculated as a percentage of the tax that has been under reported, unpaid, under assessed or over claimed. Businesses will also have to pay interest and any outstanding VAT as well as the penalty.