We have successfully represented a broad range of corporate and individual clients in Tax matters. Our specialist Tax Solicitors and Barristers deliver expert technical knowledge, strong negotiation skills and respected advice, which can make a pronounced difference to eventual tax penalties, charges and liability.
We provide urgent advice and representation to clients from our unique expert team of established Tax and Duties specialist solicitors and barristers with a proven track record of delivering authoritative results. We have successfully assisted many clients by:
- Reviewing your entire matter;
- Providing expert advice throughout the entire investigative or appeal process;
- Representing you in correspondence, interviews and meetings with HMRC or UKBA;
- Collating and preparing all documentation required by HMRC, including Outline Disclosure, Full Disclosure and the Disclosure Report; and
- Contesting disputed tax assessments and penalties ;
- Managing the entire Litigation process; and
- Representing you in HMRC’s internal review, Court or First Tier Tax Tribunal if necessary.
Our Recent Successes
Case Study: Undisclosed Personal Tax
We were instructed by a client who had been submitting inaccurate personal tax returns for a period of almost 10 years. The client failed to ensure the proper recording of significant sums, including a large amount of cash payments in their Self Assessment tax returns.
Undisclosed liabilities may amount to a criminal offence of tax evasion and cheating the revenue, which can lead to serious consequences, such as large fines and prison. HMRC is targeting tax evasion and the applicable penalties may be as much as 100% of the unpaid liabilities or up to 200% for offshore related incomes. In some cases an HMRC investigation could be commenced which could lead to a criminal prosecution.
Our experienced tax lawyers can often assist in dissuading HMRC from prosecuting and in reducing the penalty to a low rate, as happened in this case.
Once instructed to advise and represent the client, we conducted a thorough review of all tax returns and accounts and took the following successful steps:
- Provided our client with the highest quality technical advice from our specialist tax team from the outset. One of our senior tax lawyers, previously based in HMRC, and therefore well experienced as to the internal workings of HMRC created a legal strategy to protect our client.
- Instructed a specially selected experienced forensic accountant to prepare a report setting out the quantum of the tax owed arising from the non-declaration of income tax which ought properly to have been paid. (It is important to note that all client communications to accountants are not legally privileged and are easy for HMRC to obtain; however, communications to lawyers are legally privileged and highly confidential – therefore our tax lawyers instructed the forensic accountant to report to us).
- Corresponded with HMRC campaigns team, managed the voluntary disclosure process and made a formal offer to settle all unpaid taxes.
- Successfully presented our client’s case to HMRC and submitted evidence that the lowest possible penalty rate for all the years covered by the voluntary disclosure would be appropriate, given our clients unprompted co-operation and carelessness (rather than dishonesty).
Given that the penalty rate could have been 100% in this case, HMRC’s acceptance of our submission that the error was careless rather than intentional was a highly successful outcome for the client, resulting in a low penalty rate and the knowledge that all liabilities spanning a decade to HMRC had been settled fully and finally without any chance of criminal proceedings.
It is important to note that if a voluntary or prompted disclosure is not made correctly then the risk of prosecution or penalty remains and it is therefore important to take legal advice if you are in this position. Further there may be significant savings in the penalties paid to HMRC if appropriate legal advice is taken in managing the tax disclosure. The tax penalty saving in this case study was 90%.
Case Study: HMRC VAT Assessment at the Tax Tribunal
Our client, the Appellant, was a special purpose vehicle (“SPV”), which bought and sold a commercial property in Central London. The property was subject to occupational leases for tenants in occupation at the time of the purchase and to tenants entering possession post-purchase.
The client later sold the property and was issued with a high output VAT assessment well in excess of £1 million by HMRC.
HMRC claimed that VAT should have been due on the sale of the property as the SPV allegedly made a supply of goods or services to the purchaser.
Our experienced tax lawyers can often assist in contesting disputed VAT assessment and penalties with HMRC and regularly appear before the First Tier Tax Tribunal and achieve successful results, as was the case with this client.
The SPV instructed us as tax specialist lawyers to negotiate with HMRC and then prepare and represent them in a complex and high value appeal before the First-tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber). We took the following successful steps:
- Appealed against the assessment outside of the 30-day limit. Ordinarily, failure to appeal within 30 days is fatal to any appeal. We were successful in presenting a good reason for our client’s default and as such the application to the Tribunal requesting more time to appeal was successful.
- Delayed payment of the assessment pending appeal. Normally, once HMRC make an assessment on VAT liability, this amount is due and must be paid before the decision can be appealed. However, we were successful in presenting a hardship application and made persuasive arguments that our client would suffer hardship if required to pay before the conclusion of the appeal.
- Ultimately, our specialist tax solicitors presented arguments employing current legislation and legal precedents that the assessment was misconceived because HMRC misunderstood the substance and reality of the sale of the property. In particular, our team submitted to the Tax Tribunal that no output VAT was due at all because the sale should have been classified as a transfer of a going concern (“TOGC”). The property was an asset of a property rental business and that business (along with the occupational leases) was transferred as a going concern. Therefore no VAT at all was due on the sale.
- Our representation and persuasive submissions caused HMRC to capitulate and withdraw their application to the Tax Tribunal days before the scheduled hearing. HMRC reduced the assessment amount to nil.
- Furthermore, we made an application to the Tax Tribunal arguing that HMRC had acted unreasonably in pursuing our client to then drop the application days before the hearing. Our representations ensured a settlement with HMRC for them to pay our client’s legal costs in the sum of around £50,000.
Before instructing our specialist tax lawyers, the client was facing a VAT assessment bill of well in excess of £1 million from the tax authorities. Our expert tax lawyers not only ensured that that the VAT assessment amount was nil; on top of this, our tax lawyers’ forceful advocacy even ensured costs of £50,000 were recovered from HMRC which ensured a highly successful outcome for the client.
If you are facing a large tax bill, our expert team of established tax and duties specialist solicitors provide urgent advice and representation to clients and have a proven track record of success in negotiating with HMRC, managing the HMRC internal review process and representing you in the First Tier Tax Tribunal.
We are proud of the quality of service that we offer to each individual client we take on and encourage our clients to express their opinions about our service. We are keen to know what our clients think of the service we provide.
“Truly an amazing service, extremely helpful staff made everything run smoothly. Very happy with the service that I have received and the knowledge and experience they have has made the process easy and straightforward for me, I would definitely recommend them.”
“Absolutely amazing service – extremely kind and helpful. Would definitely recommend. 5/5”
“High calibre and professional solicitors with ability to grasp complex cases and articulate well reasoned legal arguments.”
“Extremely knowledgeable and professional with a great value-add service!”
“We have found the team always endeavour to offer a very caring and professional service.”
Expert City of London Tax Lawyers
If you need HMRC Tax Investigation advice, we are available to aid you at every stage of the HMRC investigate process. Members of our legal team have first-hand experience and knowledge of the internal workings of HMRC. We can provide you with the very best representation in negotiations with HMRC and defending all forms of HMRC fraud, tax inquiry, tax fraud investigation, criminal tax evasion and HMRC enquiries and investigations. Our team specialises in successfully challenging HMRC decisions and will assist you in every aspect of the investigation.
Our specialist Tax Solicitors and Barristers deliver expert technical knowledge, strong negotiation skills and respected advice, which can make a pronounced difference to eventual tax penalties, charges and liability.
We provide urgent advice and representation to clients from our unique expert team of established Tax and Duties specialist solicitors and barristers with a proven track record of delivering authoritative results.
Our Tax lawyers are available to give information and advice to you. To book a free telephone appointment click here or call us on 0207 1830 529.