An audit is usually triggered by something that makes the tax office suspicious about your accounts. They might notice a discrepancy between what you say you owe and what you actually owe, or they could find out that you haven’t been paying enough tax. If HMRC decide to investigate you, it doesn’t mean that you’re guilty – just that they want to know how much money you’ve earned and spent over the last few years. You’ll probably receive a letter telling you that an HMRC representative wants to meet with you to discuss your finances. This meeting is called an ‘audit’.
If you think you’re being investigated because you’ve done something wrong, talk to your accountant. He or she should be able to tell you whether you’re facing an audit or not. But don’t panic – even if you are being audited, there won’t necessarily be any immediate impact on your business, unless you’re suspected of fraud.
How do you know whether HMRC is conducting an investigation?
Initial investigations are typically triggered by red flags generated from HM Revenue & Customs’ supercomputer, Connect. A formal notification will usually follow a letter sent to your business’ registered office address. HMRC does not generally release information about its investigations, and it does not issue press releases. However, there are some exceptions. For example, HMRC did announce that it had begun a criminal investigation into tax evasion.
HMRC uses data analytics to detect suspicious activity. This includes looking for unusual patterns in transactions, such as large cash deposits or withdrawals. If HMRC suspects that a transaction is linked to money laundering, fraud or terrorism, it will investigate further.
The first step in an initial investigation is to check whether HMRC already knows about the potential problem. They might have been notified by another government agency, such as the police, or by a third party, like a bank. In addition, HMRC checks whether the business has filed a previous tax return. If it hasn’t done so, HMRC sends out letters asking for additional information. These letters are known as Notices of Proposed Assessment.
If the business provides the requested documents within 28 days, HMRC will send a Notice of Intention to Assess Tax. This document informs the taxpayer that HMRC intends to assess tax against them. At this stage, HMRC will ask the business to provide evidence that the proposed assessment is incorrect.
If the business fails to respond, HMRC will make a decision based on the evidence presented. If the business still doesn’t reply, HMRC will proceed with the proposed assessment.
HMRC will then send a final notice to inform the business of the outcome of the investigation. If the business disagrees with the assessment, it can appeal.
However, this isn’t always necessary. HMRC will sometimes conduct an audit without issuing a warning. An audit involves checking whether the business is complying with existing rules and regulations. HMRC will look at records, including invoices and receipts, and interview employees to find out how much tax the business owes.
What is an HMRC Investigation?
An HMRC investigation is a procedure where HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will conduct an examination of your business to see whether it has evaded paying any money in regards to taxation. This could include looking at your finances, accounts, contracts, and tax returns.
A routine audit is a general review of how well your business is complying with the law. Audits usually focus on income tax and corporation tax.
When conducting an HMRC investigation HMRC will look into everything about your business including financial records; accounts; contracts; tax returns; and anything else relevant to the case.
Why is HMRC Investigating My Organization?
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is investigating you because it suspects that you might owe money in unpaid taxes. If HMRC finds out that you haven’t paid what you owe, it could start legal proceedings against you. This includes taking court action such as attaching your property, freezing your bank account, seizing your assets or even arresting you.
The most common reason why HMRC investigates companies is because they suspect that someone within the company isn’t paying enough corporation tax. HMRC doesn’t usually go after individuals unless there’s evidence that they’ve deliberately avoided paying tax.
If HMRC decides to investigate your company, it’ll ask you some questions about how much tax you pay, where you earn your income, whether you’re registered for VAT, and whether you have any outstanding debts. HMRC won’t tell you exactly why it wants to look into your finances, but it’ll give you a chance to respond.
You don’t have to worry too much about answering HMRC’s questions honestly – HMRC can’t use anything you say against you in court. However, if you lie to HMRC, you risk being charged with perjury. HMRC will keep everything it learns confidential.
Aspect, full and random investigations
The Australian Tax Office (ATO) has announced it will begin conducting automated audits of taxpayers’ returns. This move follows a review into the ATO’s compliance program that found many businesses had been audited without being notified about the audit. The ATO says the change will help ensure “taxpayers receive timely and accurate advice”.
What does this mean for you?
If you’ve received an email from the ATO asking you to provide additional documents or answer questions, you’ll now receive a notification via SMS. You’ll also receive a text reminder to submit your payment within 14 days of receiving the letter.
You’ll also be able to check if the ATO has conducted an audit on your account online. If you’re unsure if you’ve been contacted, you can use the ‘Check my records’ tool to find out.
How do I know if the ATO has already inspected my return?
This isn’t something we can tell you – it depends on what type of investigation you’ve received. However, if you’ve received an SMS alert telling you to contact the ATO, it means the agency has already reviewed your return.
Why did the ATO decide to conduct audits?
What Happens if HMRC Conducts an Investigation?
An Information Notice Letter is sent out to businesses informing them that HM Revenue & Customs are investigating them. This usually happens because HMRC suspects tax evasion or fraud. A representative from HMRC will then come to your office to conduct interviews and check records.
HMRC audits often involve checking banking statements and other financial documents, such as invoices, receipts, etc. If HMRC finds anything suspicious, it could lead to fines or even imprisonment.
An audit can take many months, and involves multiple agents. You’ll likely receive a letter from the Tax Office detailing what it wants to see. If you don’t comply, there are serious consequences.
In addition to the tax owed – which can include interest, fines, and legal fees – you could face other charges such as interest, fines, and possibly even legal fees.
A professional accountant can help you understand how much money you owe, and whether you’re eligible for certain deductions. They can also advise on the best way forward.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) audits can cost thousands of pounds an hour. For example, one audit took over three hours to complete.
HMRC investigations can last months, or even years. One investigation lasted seven years.
The average cost of an HMRC investigation is £1,500. However, costs vary depending on the complexity of the case.
How far back do HMRC investigate?
HMRC can look back six months for errors made deliberately. HMRC can look further backwards for errors made carelessly. HMRC can look up to 20 years back for errors made deliberately. However, there are limits to how far back it can go. HMRC cannot look back beyond three years for negligent errors.
What authority and power do investigation officers possess?
An HMRC investigation officer will normally call you or email you to inform you that they are investigating you. This could be because you received a notice of assessment, or it could be because you failed to provide information requested during an audit. If you receive a letter from HMRC requesting information, you must respond within 28 days. You can either reply directly to the address given, or send your response via post.
If HMRC requests information, they can ask you to produce certain documents. These include bank statements, tax returns, invoices, contracts, receipts, letters, emails and anything else relevant to the case. You don’t have to hand over everything, but you should provide whatever documentation you think might help prove your innocence.
HMRC officers can make arrests if they believe you have committed fraud. However, they cannot arrest you without a warrant unless you are suspected of committing a crime.
In some cases, HMRC officers can take you to court and seek a fine or prison sentence. In most cases, however, HMRC officers just want to resolve the issue quickly and move on to the next person.
They must disclose which taxes are being investigated.
The IRS is conducting an audit of your tax return. You didn’t know it was happening. But now you do. And you want to know what the heck is going on.
You might think you’re safe because you haven’t done anything wrong. But there’s no way to know for sure.
If you’ve been contacted by the IRS, here’s how to deal with it.
1. Know What Is Going On
First things first: You need to understand what’s going on. This includes knowing what type of audit you’re facing — whether it’s a routine review or something more serious.
2. Ask Questions
Ask questions like: Why am I being audited? How long does this usually take? Will I lose my job? Can I hire someone else to help me prepare?
HMRC investigators have the authority to inspect a business location.
The UK tax authority HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has confirmed it is carrying out an inquiry into the owner of a large number of companies. This follows reports that the taxpayer had been investigated by HMRC over allegations of money laundering.
A spokesperson for HMRC told Business Insider: “We are conducting an enquiry into a limited group of businesses owned by one individual. We do not comment on ongoing investigations.”
The investigation is being carried out by HMRC’s National Investigation Service (NIS), which investigates serious crime including fraud.
Investigating suspected fraud
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) says it is investigating people who may try to evade tax payments. This follows the announcement earlier this week that the government plans to introduce legislation requiring individuals to declare whether they believe there is anything wrong with their finances. The move came following the publication of the Panama Papers investigation into offshore companies used by rich and powerful figures around the world.
Individuals are being encouraged to come forward if they feel there is something wrong with how they manage their money. If HMRC finds evidence of wrongdoing, criminal investigations can be launched. In addition, HMRC says it will use information gathered during the initial inquiry to determine whether further action needs to be taken against those involved.
The government says anyone who believes they might have been affected by tax evasion should contact HMRC. They say they do not want to make assumptions about someone’s financial situation without having all relevant facts.
Criminal investigation powers
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been granted criminal investigation powers allowing it to make arrests and search suspects and their premises. These powers were introduced in April 2018 and come into force today (December 4). They give HMRC the ability to arrest people suspected of committing offences against the Income Tax Act 2007, including those who fail to pay taxes due. HMRC can also search property without a warrant where there is reasonable suspicion that the person being searched committed an offence.
The government says the changes will help tackle fraud and money laundering. But critics say the powers go too far and could lead to abuse.
How to Appeal?
Appeals are made within three months of receiving a penalty notice. You can make one online or via post.
If you don’t receive a response within 14 days, contact HMRC again.
You’ll need to provide evidence to support your case.
The deadline for appeals is 31 December.
If you’ve been charged with a VAT fraud offence, you can appeal against it. This includes penalties and interest.
To appeal, you’ll need to submit a written request. You’ll need to provide evidence supporting your claim.
HMRC will review your appeal and decide whether to accept it.
If HMRC accepts your appeal, they’ll refund the money you paid.
If HMRC rejects your appeal, you’ll still owe the money.
Frequently Asked Questions
How far back can HMRC investigate?
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) can go back six years for errors, however, if the mistake was deliberate then it can go back up to 20 years and the consequences are severe. This includes the potential for statutory interest and much harsher punishments. If you know about something wrong that could affect tax bills, contact us today.
What are the advantages of tax audit insurance?
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has launched a major tax enquiry against one of Britain’s biggest companies. If you are affected, you could face a fine of up to £10 million plus interest and penalties. But there is good news – you don’t need to pay anything extra for protection. You might think that paying for tax investigation insurance is like throwing money away. However, the policy covers everything from loss of profits to legal costs. And unlike some policies, there is no limit on how much you can claim.
The FSB offers comprehensive cover for businesses across all sectors. This includes tax investigations, VAT disputes, employment law issues, and even bankruptcy claims. There are no hidden extras or additional charges, just a simple flat fee per month. And because we provide a full refund if you don’t receive a demand letter within 12 months, you won’t find better value anywhere else.