What happens if I have been picked for an HMRC investigation?

Any person or business can be selected for an HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigation at potentially any time – meaning you never know when an enquiry might be just around the corner.

If you are selected for a tax investigation, you will receive a letter from HMRC notifying you of this. In most cases, you will need to respond to this letter within a tight timeframe of between 30 and 35 days, so it is important to act fast.

In the early stages of an investigation, you should try not to panic. However, it is important to seek specialist advice from your accountant at the earliest possible opportunity to resolve the matter quickly and with minimum disruption to yourself or your business.

Depending on the type of enquiry you have been selected for – which will usually be either an ‘aspect enquiry’ examining a specific aspect of your tax return or a ‘full enquiry’ intending to take a broader look at your finances – the investigation could take anywhere between three and 18 months. Fortunately, however, this timeframe can usually be cut down significantly if you seek advice in good time.

If your business has been targeted, you will most likely be asked to provide the Revenue with details of bank statements, paying-in slips, VAT records, payroll records and more. If your records are kept electronically, evidence of this will need to be provided.

In some cases, you might be asked to attend a meeting with an HMRC investigator, but with any luck our expert team can help you to resolve the matter long before this becomes likely. In the event that you are asked to meet with an investigator, an accountant might be able to accompany you.

Whatever the circumstances, it is important to act fast and to respond to any written enquiries from HMRC within the stated timeframes throughout the investigation, as the tax authority can issue fines if you are too slow to respond. As mentioned previously, you should seek your accountant’s advice ASAP.

To find out how McGills’ expert team can help those facing a tax investigation, please contact us.