Criminal Prosecution for Tax Crimes

HMRC has the power to conduct a criminal investigation where it sees fit and can do so based on the seriousness of the crime, or for the purpose of deterring others from the same crime. Most tax offences can be tried in either the Magistrates’ Court or the Crown Court. Criminal tax investigations can call in the full array of powers given by the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 (PACE). This means those under investigation could be subject to a range of police powers such as detention without bail, surrender of passport, tagging, home and business searches, cash seizures surveillance, dawn raids and more.

Cases that will be considered for a criminal as opposed to a civil hearing include the following: 

  • Findings of false or forged documents
  • Where materially false statements or documents were provided in the course of a civil tax investigation
  • Where materially false documents or facts were relied upon in a tax avoidance scheme
  • Where there is a suspicion of deliberate concealment, deception, conspiracy or corruption
  • For businesses or individuals who have offended previously
  • For businesses or individuals have previously been subject to a tax investigation
  • Where there has been a repeated course of unlawful conduct
  • Where the offenders are in positions of trust or responsibility

However, where a taxpayer fails to cooperate whilst under investigation in a case that would normally be heard in a civil court, HMRC may decide to prosecute.

Bright Line Law hosts a well-regarded tax practice, with experience of advising both business and individual clients on disputes with HMRC. Jonathan Fisher QC leads our barrister-led practice, and is regularly instructed to act for clients accused of breaching anti-avoidance rules. He has previously been involved in advising on the use of, and regulatory investigation of film industry, and offshore tax schemes. We have also been instructed to represent clients in criminal and civil litigation initiated by HMRC.

Bright Line Law regularly work with other leading barristers and experts in the field of tax law - including forensic and chartered accountants, and professional tax advisors - to assist clients and deliver pragmatic solutions to legal problems. At Bright Line Law, our goal is to resolve regulatory issues quickly and provide a rigorous defence to accusations of violations of tax law. Contact our team today to learn more about our work, and how our skills and expertise can be used to help you and/ or your business.

Jonathan Fisher QC
Lead Counsel

Telephone + 020 3872 2852

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