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VAT Evasion Fraud Solicitors
MPR Solicitors have a wealth of experience of defending VAT evasion fraud. We are a niche practice, dealing almost exclusively in criminal defence, fraud and white-collar crime. As such we are wholly focused on defending clients in these areas of law.
To contact us regarding a charge of VAT evasion fraud, please call our office on 020 3824 8080 to make an appointment at our London office.
As a team, we provide partner-led, quality, professional service. If you have been accused of VAT evasion fraud, your professional reputation, career, and freedom may be at stake. You can trust us to provide expert advice and robust representation while supporting you and your family throughout the case.
It is important in these cases to secure representation and obtain early involvement by a specialist VAT fraud solicitor at the earliest stage of the investigation in order that we can properly advise and safeguard your interest. Sometimes early intervention and involvement can mean that the investigation is resolved without the need for criminal proceedings. Our fraud team is partner-led, able to swiftly work through the elements of an investigation to build a robust defence for you or your company.
Our practice focuses on our core areas of law; therefore clients who instruct us can be confident of our in-depth knowledge and experience in defending matters of fraud. As these types of cases are extremely complex, many high street criminal defence firms do not have the resources, contacts or expertise to defend a serious fraud case effectively. MPR Solicitors are a member of the Ministry of Justice’s Very High Cost Cases (VHCC) panel and its predecessor, the Specialist Fraud Panel. This membership demonstrates our expertise and experience in fraud cases. In particularly complex serious fraud cases we can put together a team to prepare a strong, pro-active defence. Our team has a wealth of experience having successfully defended our clients who have been accused of VAT fraud offences.
If you have been accused of VAT evasion fraud, it is crucial that you take the charge seriously and instruct quality, experienced fraud solicitors to advise and represent you.
What is fraud?
Fraud can be defined as acting dishonestly or employing trickery to gain an advantage. In most cases of fraud, this advantage constitutes a financial gain.
The Fraud Act 2006 governs the offence of fraud in the United Kingdom.
Dishonesty is required for fraud to have occurred, but critically, it is not essential for the accused to have gained an advantage because of their actions.
What is VAT evasion fraud?
It is an offence under section 72(1) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994, for someone to be ‘knowingly concerned’ with taking steps with a view to fraudulently evade paying VAT. The offence is triable either way as an indictable or summary offence. This means the Magistrates Court must decide, on the first hearing whether the case is serious enough to be tried on indictment before a judge and jury in the Crown Court.
There are several steps the prosecution must prove to gain a conviction. As defence solicitors, we excel in examining the details of your alleged offence and constructing a robust defence by placing doubt in the mind of the magistrate, judge or jury.
What must the prosecution prove in VAT fraud?
The prosecution must prove:
- That VAT was owing for the relevant period,
- You are taking steps with a view to evading tax that is owed. “Taking steps with a view to” is relatively wide, and can include preparatory conduct (something we would strongly defend). An example would be failing to inform HMRC that the turnover of your organisation had reached the limit for VAT exemption.
- You sought to “fraudulently evade” paying VAT. This requires dishonest conduct deliberately intended to evade paying the tax owned. The prosecution does not have to prove the tax would never have been paid to HMRC; therefore, merely paying taxes late could be construed as fraudulent evasion if dishonesty is present.
What is the sentence for fraudulently evading VAT tax?
Evasion of VAT payments is punishable on summary conviction by a fine of the statutory maximum (£20,000 for offences committed in on or after 12th March 2015) or three times the amount of the VAT owed (whichever is greater), or six months imprisonment. Conviction on indictment is punishable by an unlimited fine or up to seven years’ imprisonment or both.