How do I know if HMRC are investigating me?

Asked by: Vernice Strosin  |  Last update: October 29, 2022
Score: 4.1/5 (71 votes)

How do I know if HMRC is investigating me? Every tax investigation starts with a brown envelope marked 'HMRC' falling through your letterbox. Your company records will face varying degrees of scrutiny, depending on the reason the investigation has been launched.

What are the chances of being investigated by HMRC?

7% of tax investigations are selected at random so technically HMRC are right; everyone is at risk. In reality though most inspections occur when HMRC uncover something is wrong.

How does HMRC investigate?

During a full enquiry, HMRC concerns itself with cases where it believes there is a significant risk of error in the tax return. In this type of enquiry, a review of all records will be undertaken. This can include personal financial records of Directors/Business owners as well as business records.

How long do tax investigations take?


Often a tax fraud investigation takes twelve to twenty-four months to complete, with 1,000 to 2,000 staff hours being devoted to the case.

What triggers a tax audit UK?

Tax investigations and frequent tax audits are more likely if: you file tax returns late, pay tax late or make errors that need correcting. there are inconsistencies or substantial variations between different returns, such as a large fall in income or increase in costs.

What happens if you have an HMRC investigation?

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Do HMRC do random checks?

HMRC carries out compliance checks on a proportion of returns to check their accuracy. Some checks will be completely random, while others will be made on businesses operating in 'at risk' sectors or where prior risk assessments have been conducted.

Does HMRC check your bank account?

Can HMRC Trace Bank Accounts? HM Revenue and Customs has wide-ranging powers to find the information they need to get people to pay tax on their income, including your bank account.

How far can HMRC go back?

HMRC will investigate further back the more serious they think a case could be. If they suspect deliberate tax evasion, they can investigate as far back as 20 years. More commonly, investigations into careless tax returns can go back 6 years and investigations into innocent errors can go back up to 4 years.

How do HMRC know about undeclared income?

Information can come from a variety of sources: on-line search, door to door enquiries, reports from members of the public or from relatives, information from other government departments, investigations into other businesses, among others. HMRC uses very sophisticated software called Connect.

Can you go to jail for tax evasion UK?

The penalty for tax evasion can be anything up to 200% of the tax due and may even result in jail time. For example, income tax evasion can result in 6 months in prison or a fine of up to £5 000, with a maximum of seven years or an unlimited fine.

Do HMRC investigate individuals?

On occasion, HMRC investigates individuals and companies at random via the Connect system, but it's relatively unusual. If you have received notification that any HMRC tax investigation procedure is to be launched against you, it's most likely that something you have done – or failed to do – has triggered this.

Do HMRC always prosecute?

HM Revenue and Customs does prosecute people for failing to declare their income, but there are relatively few prosecutions every year. You are unlikely to be prosecuted if you voluntarily disclose your failure to HM Revenue and Customs before they have any suspicion of wrongdoing.

What security checks do HMRC do?

What does it mean when HMRC are doing security checks? If you submit a self-assessment tax return which results in a repayment of tax, HMRC undertakes a number of routine security checks to ensure that the claim is genuine. This means that HMRC may write to you and ask that you confirm your identity.

Can the taxman see my bank account?

It's a question many people ask, worried that the taxman can freely browse their financial data. Currently, the answer to the question is a qualified 'yes'. If HMRC is investigating a taxpayer, it has the power to issue a 'third party notice' to request information from banks and other financial institutions.

Do HMRC act on tip offs?

HMRC maintains a close watch on cash businesses and conducts undercover checks from tip-offs, usually from former staff.

What qualifies as tax evasion?

Tax evasion is the illegal non-payment or under-payment of taxes, usually by deliberately making a false declaration or no declaration to tax authorities – such as by declaring less income, profits or gains than the amounts actually earned, or by overstating deductions. It entails criminal or civil legal penalties.

What happens if you forgot to declare income?

In the event of delay in filing returns, you will still be paid the refund. However, the IT department is not obliged to pay you any interest for delay in payment refunds. To the extent you lose out by not filing your income tax returns before the stipulated date in the event you are claiming refunds.

What happens if you get caught working cash in hand?

If an employer is caught paying cash in hand, you are putting yourself at risk of substantial fines. Employees who accept cash in hand payments risk losing employment rights such as Statutory Maternity Pay and Statutory Sick Pay and could be called upon to pay the back-dated Tax and National Insurance Contributions.

What happens if you don't declare income from other sources?

Q- What would happen if we don't declare “income from other sources”? Income Tax department could issue notice to the taxpayers who fail to include the income from other sources.

Can HMRC visit unannounced?

Unannounced visits by HMRC have to be sanctioned either by 'an authorised officer' or the tax tribunal and have to be 'reasonably required' for the purposes of HMRC's (compliance) check. They also tend to be carried out by HMRC joint disciplines with direct and indirect officers working together.

How do I avoid HMRC penalties?

The amount of a failure to notify penalty is calculated on the basis of a percentage of potential lost revenue – this means the amount of tax unpaid by the relevant payment deadline as a result of the failure to notify. HMRC can reduce the penalty if you tell them about the failure to notify and are cooperative.

Can HMRC take my house?

If your house is registered in the company's name, HMRC can force the company into a compulsory liquidation, so that the property's value can be realised and shared among the company's creditors, to repay. Likewise, if the house is registered this way, it can be taken and sold, at any point, if you live in it or not.

Can HMRC tap your phone?

In order to obtain this information, HMRC has to use more invasive surveillance technology, such as wiretaps to listen into phone calls made by an individual. HMRC can also film an individual's house or track their car if they believe a case of serious tax evasion has occurred!

What is considered tax evasion UK?

Tax evasion is where there is a deliberate attempt not to pay the tax which is due. It is illegal. We will pursue those who engage in evasion, with serious consequences for those who don't pay all the tax they owe, from financial penalties to criminal conviction and imprisonment.

What information does HMRC hold on me?

Using Connect, HMRC can sift through information on property transactions, company ownerships, loans, bank accounts, employment history and self-assessment records to spot where estates might be under-declaring.