Tax Investigations

HM Revenue & Customs now has very wide ranging powers to investigate your personal and business affairs at will. In some circumstances, they are entitled to enter premises without notice to seek documents relevant to your tax affairs and they have draconian new penalty regimes established to maximise the amount of money that they can extract from you if they decide that you have deliberately underpaid your dues.

As if running your own business was not stressful enough, you could now find yourself subject to in depth investigation into almost any aspect of your business or personal affairs, including;

  • Income Tax
  • National Insurance
  • Corporation Tax
  • Benefits in Kind
  • PAYE
  • Capital Gains Tax
  • Value Added Tax
  • Inheritance Tax

CM chartered accountants has established a justifiable reputation throughout the United Kingdom and Europe for being skilful, hard but fair negotiators with all Government Agencies but particularly with HMRC. We understand the concerns and needs of people who are subject to investigation and act swiftly to take away these worries immediately, especially in the more serious cases being undertaken by members of HMRC Specialist Investigation offices.

John Green joined CM chartered accountants after 23 years service with the Inland Revenue, where he was responsible for the investigation of serious fraud and anti-avoidance schemes, often involving very large businesses and International taxation issues. If you find yourself subject to HMRC investigation of any kind the best protection possible for you is to have John and his team at your side.

John’s team of ex HMRC senior investigators from specialist high level offices have a well deserved reputation for achieving cost effective pragmatic settlements in investigations conducted by major Government departments. In addition to dealing with Civil Investigations they have considerable experience dealing with people subject to criminal prosecution for offences relating to fraud as well as those charged with tax and Vat offences. They are also the first in the country to develop strategies to help people facing Applications for excessive levels of confiscation under the Proceeds of Crime Act and have had considerable success redressing the balance for people subject to the draconian demands of that statute.

For further information please contact a member of our tax investigations team, [email protected]

Investigation of Fraud

The vast majority of investigations and inspections carried out by HMRC officers are dealt with by people working in the local tax and vat office network. These investigations are usually resolved by negotiation and if errors have been discovered will include the appropriate taxes, both direct and in-direct, National Insurance Contributions, interest and penalties. There are some firms of Accountants who are able to deal with these routine investigations but generally it pays dividends to engage a specialist firm such as CM chartered accountants to work alongside and assist your own accountant to achieve the most cost efficient settlement with HMRC.

The more serious cases tend to be dealt with by offices throughout the United Kingdom known as ‘Specialist Investigations’ which, amongst other investigations deal with cases of suspected serious fraud. Serious fraud cases can be dealt with through the Criminal Justice system and if somebody is found guilty of a tax offence he is likely to face a custodial sentence, or under what was formerly known as ‘Hansard’ and now is referred to as ‘COP 9′. This is short name for the HMRC Code of Practice under which serious investigations that are not being prosecuted are carried out.


A COP 9 investigation usually begins with an invitation from an Investigator who works in a Specialist Investigation office for you to attend a formal meeting at which the COP 9 principal will be explained to you. That principal in everyday language is that if you disclose any irregularities in your tax affairs and/or the affairs of any business that you have been associated with during the preceding 20 years and pay the outstanding duties, interest and penalties then you will not be prosecuted.

Anyone who receives such an invitation should seek specialist advice from CM chartered accountants’ experienced ex HMRC high level investigators urgently. It is worth bearing in mind that the Investigator cannot compel you to attend a meeting with him and if your accountant tells you otherwise seek our advice at once. Accountants tend to know that part of the Specialist Investigations team brief is to consider the actions of the accountant themselves when carrying out the investigation and this can deflect them from full concentration on your affairs.

The opening COP 9 interview is a structured formal affair and some very simple but very demanding questions are put to the person being investigated. The way in which the investigation proceeds is determined by the answers to those questions. The questions posed relate to both direct and indirect taxes and generally take the following form;

Question 1
Have any transactions been omitted from or incorrectly recorded in the books of any business with which you are or have been concerned whether as a director, partner or sole proprietor to the best of your knowledge or belief?

Question 2
Are the accounts sent to the HMRC for each and every business with which you are or have been concerned whether as a director, partner or sole proprietor, correct and complete to the best of your knowledge and belief?

Question 3
Are all the tax returns of each and every business with which you are or have been concerned whether as a director, partner or sole proprietor correct and complete to the best of your knowledge and belief?

Question 4
Are all of your personal tax returns correct and complete to the best of your knowledge and belief?

Question 5
Will you allow an examination of all business books, business and private bank statements and any other business and private records in order that HMRC may be satisfied that your answers to the first four questions are correct?
False statements can result in a criminal investigation with a view to prosecution.
These are clearly serious questions and a simple yes or no answer is all that is expected. The warning about the possibility of criminal investigation has to be taken very seriously and nobody should ever put themselves into the position of having to answer these questions without experienced support from a firm such as CM chartered accountants. If you have an opening COP 9 meeting scheduled you should contact CM chartered accountants at once. If you have undergone such an experience and the investigation process has not been completed you should contact us if you wish to ensure that you are not prosecuted and to achieve the least possible tax bill at the conclusion of your enquiry.
If you want to read the full text of the HMRC leaflet which sets out the COP 9 procedures click the following link.

HM Revenue & Customs

HMRC have become significantly more aggressive in their defence and collection of tax. An increasing number of powers are being given to HMRC with the volume of legislation increasing year on year. It is therefore becoming more and more important to ensure that you receive the good advice.
At CM chartered accountants we advise on the following:

  • Investigations – We have some of the most experienced ex-revenue inspectors found outside the “Big-Four” and regularly provide help and assistance with the clients of other firms of accountants and solicitors when they are facing a challenge from HMRC.
  • Mergers, Acquisitions and Disposals – It is extremely important to ensure when buying or selling company shares or trading assets to obtain tax advice on the transaction as early as possible.
  • Tax Planning – It is our philosophy to implement plans to reduce the tax compliance burden from an annual perspective in relation to Income Tax or Corporate Tax, as well as review long term plans with respect to Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax.
  • We also provide specialist help with regard to the indirect taxes of VAT and stamp duty.
  • We also advise on;
    • Enterprise Investment Schemes (EIS)
    • Enterprise Management Incentives (EMI)
    • Research and Development Tax Credits
    • Capital Allowances Claims
    • Pension Scheme Contributions
    • Anti Avoidance Tax Schemes
    • Spin Off Companies
    • Film Scheme Tax Credits

For further information please contact a member of our team, [email protected]

POCA Civil Proceedings

The Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (POCA) was introduced to ensure that serious criminals could not benefit from the crimes that they had committed. This is a very laudable objective but the legislation can be Draconian for minor criminals and can lead to very unjust outcomes.

Many criminal lawyers seem reluctant to challenge the system and CM chartered accountants’ Forensic Investigation Team has seen many examples where Confiscations have been sought in huge sums of money when in truth there were no proceeds of the crime or a very minor amount of money is involved.

If someone has been found guilty of a criminal offence they have to prove the source of money used to;

a.Acquire any assets or savings held 6 years before the offence
b.Acquire any assets or savings or used to spend in the 6 years prior to the offence
c.Acquire any assets or savings or used to spend since the offence

If they cannot prove all of these things then the Crown is entitled to assume that they are from the proceeds of crime and confiscate an amount equal to them.


CM chartered accountants began defending individuals who were subject to excessive confiscation applications as soon as the new legislation started to bite and now has a considerable amount of experience counteracting the excessive demands produced by overzealous police financial investigators who it is reported receive part of what they confiscate personally as a bonus.

Anyone subject to a POCA Application should ensure that their solicitor engages an experienced firm like CM chartered accountants to produce a Forensic Report in support of their case.

Recently we have completed Reports in case where;

a.The police investigator sought almost £500,000 and our Report reduced that to £13,000
b.The police investigator declared benefits of criminal activity of more than £6,000,000 and we concluded that there had been no proceeds of crime whatsoever.

In addition to success defending Applications for Confiscation, we have also acted in main stream criminal cases where the evidence against the defendant was dubious and secured outcomes for people who were at risk of prison but who had committed no offence. A recent example is a shop employee accused of stealing £70,000 from the employer. Following the presentation of our Report on the evidence the individual was not guilty.

Anyone who is subject to criminal charges in relation to any offence involving money or monetary value should ensure that their solicitor engage the services of a Forensic Expert such as CM chartered accountants.

Tax Investigation Protection

Investigations by HMRC can be very disruptive and incur significant fees to defend. CM clients can benefit from our renowned expertise defending clients in return for a small annual fee which provides the reassurance that if they are challenged their costs will be covered.

More Information

Litigation Support & Forensic Accounting

Financial and Taxation issues in the world of commerce are becoming ever 
more complex and not all disputes are settled amicably, not even with the assistance of the Dispute Mediation services offered by CM chartered accountants. In litigation the assistance of an expert witness is being sought more and more by solicitors, barristers and commercial organisations.

For those unfortunate enough to have the experience of being involved in litigation and court proceedings, CM chartered accountants can provide support and specialised expertise both in case preparation and in the court hearing itself. Our reputation in the field of forensic accounting has grown rapidly in recent years. With John Green in our team we have extensive experience of cases of alleged fraud – particularly in defending clients against such claims by HMRC and the DSS.

Areas of our expertise include:

  • Fraud and Financial Irregularities
  • Tax and VAT Evasion
  • Consequential Loss Claims
  • Medical Negligence
  • Professional Negligence
  • Commercial Disputes
  • Personal Injury Claims
  • Matrimonial Disputes
  • Fatal Accidents
  • Business Valuations

Our policy is to prepare a thoroughly researched, clearly presented and objective report to assist you in reaching a successful outcome. For an initial discussion on how we would help your clients, please call Phil Harrison or John Green on 0151 285 3100, alternatively you can email one of our team on [email protected]

Dispute Resolution

In the increasingly difficult and complex businesses that many self employed people and companies are involved with these days it is inevitably the case that disputes will occur.

These disputes may well simply be caused by partners falling out but can also result from the misinterpretation of obligations under contracts, about quality of product and performance, about misrepresentation and a seemingly endless list of other causes.

Resolving such disputes can be time consuming and expensive and lead to a loss of focus on the core business which will inevitably suffer. Often the only solution is to instruct lawyers and issue proceedings. When cases appear before the Courts the Judge will establish whether there is an alternative resolution available to the protagonists – i.e. can the issue be solved by some form of mediation.

Mediation usually involves parties meeting at a neutral venue with the Mediator and a series of meetings, some with all parties present, some just one party with the Mediator. Mediations often lead to matters being solved and a conclusion reached by consent which is later accepted by the Court.

CM chartered accountants Ltd offers a service of Mediation in all manner of disputes and recommends Mediation if it seems that there is a dispute that may end up in Court. It is far better, cost effective and quicker to attempt Mediation before proceedings are instigated than to allow the Court process – and lawyers bills – to kick in.

For further information please contact a member of our dispute resolution team, [email protected]