VAT Fraud investigations can be dangerous. You need expert help to come out the other side.

The business world is tough, but dealing with a VAT fraud case at the same time can seem almost impossible.

Getting the right advice from VAT fraud solicitors can make the difference between a case going nowhere and years of investigations and even court.

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Table of contents

A VAT Fraud case can turn your life upside down. It brings with it an immediate fear of threat to your career, reputation.

It can be difficult to bear the pressure because of the stigma associated with being suspected of fraud, even if you've done nothing wrong. Most people in this situation have never been in this type of trouble before, and never thought it would happen to them.

Because VAT claims are often in the tens or hundreds of thousands of pounds, there is a possibility of prison and asset confiscation if you're convicted, which creates an extra burden.

A conviction can be even worse for businesses and individuals who are regulated by professional bodies if they risk losing their ability to continue their work.

Managing a business is hard. Covid and recession has made it worse. A VAT investigation during this period can seem unthinkable.

Collecting and managing VAT for the government is difficult. Mistakes can be made. People can trust rogue suppliers or be sabotaged by a colleague, resulting in HMRC involvement.

If HMRC decides that a person is guilty, they can pursue that person cynically, and ignore evidence that he or she may be innocent. This is unfair.

People who have never been in trouble are often ashamed and can find it hard to face up to telling family members, or even finding decent VAT fraud lawyers to help with the problem.

It can seem that HMRC can put a stop to your whole life. People often suffer with sleepless nights and stress.

The disruption caused by an HMRC investigation is not something you have to just accept. HMRC are not all-powerful and they are accountable.

UK law says that you can't be convicted unless you have done something wrong. In many cases even if you admit to having been negligent you can still avoid a conviction.

Having specialist lawyers is an important first step. Although it's true that HMRC win many tax fraud cases, this is often because people aren't very well defended. When you have a team of specialist VAT fraud lawyers on your side, you stand the best chance of surviving the case. This means getting the investigation stopped early or winning at trial.

We've been defending fraud for 30 years. You can have access to the experience we have acquired.

From the outset your case is treated with the care you expect. Wherever possible, we push to stop the case proceeding.

We assemble a team of top barristers and VAT fraud solicitors so that you have the best chance of avoiding conviction. We also work closely with specialist tax advisors. If the case is headed for trial, we are ready to fight.

We put int the time to understand the full picture. If there's another explanation for what's happened, we put it forward persuasively.

You will be fully updated and supported throughout. A VAT fraud case is one of the most stressful situations you can face. We want to keep that to a minimum.

  • Call us and speak to one of our specialist VAT fraud lawyers. We are happy to discuss what's going on with you, and not much is beyond our experience in this area.

  • Be proactive. The people in these cases who get the best results are the ones who face up to the problem and go out and get the right professionals on their side to help. Get a proper VAT fraud lawyer working with you, not just the local solicitor.

  • If you are struggling with mental health, see your GP. Most people suffer in an HMRC VAT fraud case, but many don't seek support.

  • Don't assume that cooperating with HMRC will mean they will have goodwill towards you and will give you an easy time. Proper representation, delivered in a forceful and civil way is the key to the result.


Frequently asked questions

Many people who have committed VAT fraud do not get charged and taken to court. HMRC will sometimes be content with fines in the form penalties. Even if the case goes to court and a person is convicted, not everyone goes to prison. Sentences can be suspended if the judge intends to impose 24 months or less. A judge will take into account will be the amount of loss or intended loss to the revenue, the personal mitigation and previous record of the defendant, and the role the defendant played in the offence.

Confiscation proceedings often follow a VAT fraud conviction, but this doesn't mean that people definitely lose everything they own. The court will take into account the value of the original case, and the extent to which assets which have been in the defendant's hands going back 6 years can be regarded as having come from clean sources. Courts also have to take into account anyone else who has a financial interest in property who has not been convicted of any offence, such as wives or partners.

Not all VAT fraud cases go to court. Many are dealt with by HMRC by way of financial penalties. Early advice and representation from specialist VAT fraud lawyers can be of great help in steering a case to a non-criminal outcome.

If family members have been members of a company or signatories to bank accounts or tax declarations, there is a chance they will be charged. Being charged means that the case against them is brought to a criminal court. But HMRC deciding to charge does not mean that you will be convicted. You can only be convicted if you plead guilty or a jury find you guilty after a trial.

HMRC will often charge a number of people in a conspiracy where a VAT fraud is suspected in a business or businesses employing staff. This doesn't mean you will be convicted. The prosecution have to prove that you knew and took part in a plan to defraud the VAT system.

Conspiracy to cheat the revenue is a legal phrase used to describe a person being part of a plan to defraud or steal from HMRC.

MTIC or Missing Trader Intra Community fraud is a term which describes fraud on the tax authorities exploiting the VAT repayment scheme. It is called 'Intra Community' because it has often taken place using overseas transactions with companies in EU member states as a way of avoiding quick detection. The term missing trader fraud can also be used to describe less sophisticated frauds where a trader simply disappears and another trader fraudulently claims a VAT refund or refunds. Where goods are passed round over and over between a circle of fraudulent parties, the term 'carousel fraud' is often used.

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We'll get back to you as soon as possible. We are happy to speak to you if you have a query, and either have a free consultation on the phone or in person if necessary.