Oh No! My Tax Return Is Wrong!
Help! What can I do?
POSTED BY JONATHAN VOWLES ON 26/02/2019 @ 8:00AM
Have you ever had that sinking feeling? You know the one in the pit of your stomach that your tax return is wrong?
If you feel your tax return is wrong, need help with disclosing a tax issue or you have received a nasty letter from the taxman then call me!
copyright: fizkes / 123rf
Somewhere and somehow you ended up not paying enough tax, but what happens now? Maybe you have already had that innocent brown envelope land on the doormat with a letter from HMRC saying they are going to look into your tax return?
Maybe you have had a letter about the Contractors Loan tax charge? Or you have never told the taxman about that rental property? Or perhaps a letter saying the VATman or PAYE taxman has some questions? Or maybe they are about to check into your business tax? So, what next, what do you do when your tax return is wrong?
"Quite importantly, it is often a bad idea to speak to HMRC!"
Or at least, speak to your accountant first. Partly, this is so that you find out more about your issue and get some advice first. But also its because, in my experience, HMRC investigators are trained in the noble art of being good cop/bad cop when they talk to you.
That is, they want to talk to you because they know that most people will simply incriminate themselves or say the wrong thing if they talk directly to the taxman, and then you're stuffed, aren't you?
Not every accountant is versed in dealing with the taxman regarding tax investigations, which means that you might need to speak to one that is. There are also some very specialist consultants who only deal in the more serious fraud cases.
If you have a letter from HMRC's Fraud Investigations Service then this is a big deal. The FIS unit deals with more serious or very large investigations. What is known as a 'COP-9 tax investigation', means a serious tax fraud and probably a criminal investigation and you need the very specialist consultants and probably solicitors and a barrister as well!
They also deal with COP-8 investigations which are for the really serious, or big amounts, but not criminal fraud. COP stands for 'Code of Practice' or the set of rules that HMRC investigators run by.
The good news is that the vast majority of HMRC investigations are conducted by the regional tax offices and not by the FIS specialist unit, but if your tax return is wrong, every tax investigation is going to cause hassle, distress and may well lead to a far larger tax bill.
"Would you like to know more?"
If you feel your tax return is wrong, need help with disclosing a tax issue or you have received a nasty letter from the taxman then do give me a call on 01234 752 566 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.
Until next time ...
More about Jonathan Vowles ...
I've been an accountant in and for business since 1987 and have a wide experience of consultancy, audit, accounts, taxation and wealth planning work from individuals and small businesses to multinational corporations and charities.
My eclectic interests in growing and developing business span a number of areas, which can be summarised as strategic business advice and tax saving advice.
I have worked with the Chamber of Commerce to deliver courses for people about starting up in business and have lectured about tax for a major accountancy practice and for Milton Keynes College.
I relax by reading fiction and by getting away from the office in a campervan.
More blog posts for you to enjoy ...