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Pre-charge advice in conspiracy to fraudulently suppress VAT

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Our client is a professional Accountant whose firm had acted for a food franchise business with cash takings who was being accused of dishonest VAT suppression for a large 7 figure sum. Following a VAT inspection HMRC found clear evidence of the VAT suppression by the business. But HMRC investigators falsely thought that our client was also involved in the fraudulent suppression and had been submitting false VAT returns in cahoots with the directors of the business. HMRC sought to interview our client under caution as well.

After our client contacted us for pre-charge advice, we actively sought to prepare a pro-active defence and had several meetings with the client to take instructions and devise a plan of action. We prepared the case and liaised with HMRC for pre-interview disclosure and were able to prepare and advise our client ahead of the interview. After meticulous and detailed instructions, and after making representations to the investigating fraud officers, we were able to persuade HMRC to drop the investigation against our professional client.

As part of the bespoke service that we offer to corporate and private clients, we can also review and assess internal Anti-Money Laundering procedures, office procedures, carry out an audit and prepare a comprehensive report on our findings and recommendations so that you are fully compliant with all the latest regulatory requirements and comply with the Anti-Corruption and Bribery Act. We can assist with the development of internal forms and templates to suit your individual business requirements.

What is VAT evasion? Evasion means an intentional non-payment of VAT when it is due by not declaring or failing to make VAT returns by suppressing sales or inflating purchases. This is contrary to section 72 91) of the VATA (Value Added Tax Act 1994) and carries a prison sentence of up to 7 years imprisonment and unlimited fine.

VAT evasion involving professionals or more than one business or where there is an intention to deceive in the civil investigations will be investigated under a criminal regime whereas less serious evasions will be dealt with under civil procedures.

If you are currently facing investigation then it is important that you are properly represented and advised by lawyers who have expertise and have experience in this area rather than general high street firms. Please call us in confidence on 020 3824 8080 or email