Tax law is a vast and complex area of law, requiring up-to-the-minute expert advice. Contact us for advice on:
Tax & VAT Investigation Defence Solicitors
This is a fast moving area of law that is growing increasingly important for individuals and businesses. You need proactive advice and representation and our negotiation skills, acquired during our long history of dealing with HMRC and defending prosecutions brought by them, give us that vital edge over our competitors.
Tax & VAT Lawyers London
We can deal with compounding settlements and representation before the relevant Tribunals - the special compliance office, settlement interviews and finalise settlement agreements.
Our recent work in these fields include:
- VAT investigations
- Advising and representing over 150 individuals whose safety deposit boxes were seized by the Metropolitan police (Operation Rize 2008 to date) and Operation Stimone 2012. This involved both money laundering and tax investigations (code 9 and criminal investigations/proceedings)
- Advising and representing a number of individuals who hold or have held offshore accounts with Swiss HSBC, including those facing proceedings as a result
- Advising other individuals from a complete cross-section of business and professional backgrounds facing domestic code 9 and criminal proceedings brought by the Revenue
Over recent years the Revenue have focused upon specific trades or businesses for investigation (both civil code 9 and criminal) e.g. plumbers - the latest profession to feel the full force of the Revenue's regard are doctors and dentists. Some 1,300 doctors and dentists are the subject of code 9 investigations and 700 are actively being considered for criminal proceedings.
Very often people in this situation turn to their usual accountants for help and advice, sadly we have noticed that these investigations are often badly handled by non specialist accountants. It is imperative that anyone finding themselves coming under the scrutiny of a revenue investigation should consult specialist tax investigation accountants and solicitors.
These investigations are lengthy and stressful. Additionally, it is important to remember that any information uncovered by the Revenue will be passed to other investigating authorities. We have seen on several occasions where the Revenue may have decided against a criminal investigation but they have passed suspicions/evidence re fraud/money laundering/POCA offences to other prosecuting authorities who have then gone on to prosecute.
We can advise on any potential criminal prosecution and have successfully assisted with many civil code 9 interviews and investigations.
VAT & Tax Fraud Lawyers London
We are also specialists in VAT and Tax fraud defence and help you in these complex areas.
Swiss HSBC Account Investigations
The very recent publicity surrounding holders of Swiss HSBC has caused some wry amusement in this office because we have been advising and defending individuals subject to HMRC investigation since 2010. After the German and French authorities paid Herve Falciani for access to the data concerning Swiss HSBC client accounts which fell into his possession, the French authorities then handed HMRC a copy of a list of UK nationals with Swiss HSBC accounts. As a result, we advise a number of individuals who are being considered for prosecution by HMRC, and many more who sought to avail of the various amnesties and disclosure facilities, for example the Lichenstein Disclosure Facility (LDF).
We work closely with leading forensic tax accountants, and have managed to succeed in settling a large number of HMRC investigations concerning these accounts. We also advised the only individual to be prosecuted for non-disclosure concerning one of these accounts. Jeffrey Lewis and Siobhain Egan deal with these issues.
HMRC & Film Tax Partnerships
Have you received either a telephone call or a letter offering settlement in respect of a film tax partnership from HMRC?
What should you do now?
Doubtless you will have seen all the publicity over the last 18 months or so about these tax partnership schemes. Whether it is tax tribunal decisions concerning Ingenious Media, Eclipse Film Partners 35, Patrick Degorce or even the recent prosecution which resulted in five criminal convictions relating to a movie that was never made ("Landscapes of Lives").
You will know that HMRC are looking at all film partnership schemes set up in 2003/4 and 2005/06. They will gradually make their way through all schemes set up over the years, and they have a clear view that these schemes have been set up for the purposes of tax avoidance.
Letter of settlement
HMRC’s confidence about these schemes (and any potential outcome of litigation) means that the terms of settlement that we have seen, thus far, are not particularly attractive or generous.
You will need to look closely at the terms of the partnership and to take advice from specialist tax accountants and solicitors. Quickly, before deciding either to negotiate with HMRC or taking a more robust stance.
There is a great deal to be said for negotiating with HMRC as early as possible, the longer the process drags on, the greater the penalties and interest will be. You must remember that HMRC are looking at tax owing now, but they can also consider future liabilities.
If you decide to litigate and defend your position you will also face huge potential litigation costs, this is a major decision not to be taken lightly and you need TO SEEK OUT EXPERT PROFESSIONAL OPINION ASAP.
Is there a risk of criminal proceedings associated with your investment in such a scheme?
Generally, if you have received a letter of settlement offer, then a criminal investigation by HMRC is unlikely to follow. However, HMRC and the CPS have announced in a recent blaze of publicity that they are looking to increase the number of criminal tax prosecutions 5x and they are always looking, for what we describe as one off policy prosecutions. It is wise to take expert advice as soon as possible.
Should you consider suing those who advised you to invest in such a scheme? What about a claim for compensation to the financial services ombudsman?
Either or both of these options should be considered, QUICKLY, because certainly as far as suing, whether in contract or negligence, there are strict time limits of 6 years that come into play.
It could be argued that time should run from the date upon which the investor knew that his /her tax partnership scheme was being challenged or closed by HMRC or that of a similar scheme. Time will run for three years from this date, in most cases the First Tier Tribunal decision relating to Eclipse 35 in April 2012 will be an important date.
If the film tax partnership is successfully challenged by HMRC, the investor would expect to pay the tax that s/he sought to defer, but are you aware that you may also be liable for tax paid by the film production company on income paid to the partnership scheme under the lease agreement, i.e. a tax liability on income which you have never received.
We are currently advising investors facing such difficulties; we work with leading tax counsel and specialist tax accountants and can give multidisciplinary advice. Jeffrey Lewis and Siobhain Egan can advise on these schemes as well as HMRC investigations (both civil and criminal) and tribunal proceedings, and we can also advise re civil proceedings/complaints to the SFO.
Contact our Tax Prosecution Defence Solicitors in Central London
With offices in Camden and Fleet Street, we represent and advise businesses in Central London, West London, North London and across the UK.