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Increased focus by HMRC


Posted on 17 July 2014

Are your tax affairs in order? When was the last time you watched the news and there wasn’t some mention of tax avoidance?

HMRC are continuing to place resources and time into ensuring companies pay “the right amount of tax at the right time”. The question we all need to consider is what is the right amount of tax?

Keeping tax affairs in order can often be a challenge for taxpayers, particularly during periods of economic uncertainty or periods of growth. Add to this the increased focus by HMRC on tax avoidance / tax evasion and it can leave taxpayers extremely worried about their tax affairs.

We, at Smith Cooper, provide specialist tax services to taxpayers offering the peace of mind you need, whether this be through a targeted health check or through assistance in dealing with all sizes of HMRC enquires, be that a simple enquiry or a full scale fraud investigation.

Our experts have a wealth of experience in dealing with HMRC including Code of Practice 9 Fraud investigations ; voluntary disclosures; Off shore disclosures; PAYE / NIC employment status; defence of tax planning, tax mitigation and / or avoidance schemes.

Some of HMRC’s most recent focus areas include:

The introduction of Accelerated Payment Notices (APN)

HMRC are in the process of introducing legislation which will require certain individuals who have undertaken tax planning to pay their tax upfront. These rules apply where the taxpayer has an open notice of enquiry and have entered into tax planning which was disclosable to HMRC (DOTASable) or which follows a case which is currently in favour of HMRC “Follower notice”.

 This change in legislation was not anticipated when many individuals entered into planning and is seen by many as being retrospective legislation and many taxpayers who will be caught by these rules will not have the available resources to fund these payments.

Targeted campaigns

HMRC periodically announce “task forces” with a view to providing taxpayers with an opportunity to own up to any tax irregularities. Examples of such task forces include:  construction industry in the Midlands and second properties.

Specialist teams within HMRC will focus on specific sectors which they consider to be high risk.

What can Smith Cooper do?

As a leading tax advisory firm, you can be sure that that your tax matters are in safe hands. Our highly skilled tax team can assist by providing you with a bespoke tax solution and by guiding you through the minefield of ever-increasingly tax legislation.

Our team are experienced in negotiating with HMRC, managing appeals against their decision at all levels and advising you both in anticipation of and in dealing with an APN or a targeted campaign. Our dedicated tax specialists structure your affairs in the most tax efficient way and always seek a quick resolution to your outstanding enquiries.


For further advice, get in touch with one of our tax specialists here.

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