Professionals being punished as HMRC double inquiries

 

You may have read on our website at the start of the month that if you are investigated by HMRC, Leonherman is here to guide and support you through the process and can also provide you with the added assurance during this stressful time that your fees are covered though our fee protection scheme.

Following on from this, there was an article in the press this weekend stating that the number of people being investigated by the taxman has doubled in the last year, raising concerns that people who have made innocent mistakes are being targeted by the Government.

HM Revenue & Customs made inquiries about the tax affairs of 237,215 people last year, compared with about 119,000 in 2011-12, figures obtained by The Daily Telegraph show.  The number of self-employed people investigated has quadrupled in that time while annual prosecutions have risen sevenfold in three years.

The figures are evidence of the attempts HMRC is taking to minimise the estimated £35 billion of tax lost every year. Experts are warning that people who have made simple errors when filling out self-assessment tax returns are “an easy target” for HMRC. With middle class professionals and the self-employed being targeted.

The Daily Telegraph stated that a Tory MP on the Commons Treasury select committee said that HMRC had been “given a mandate to aggressively go about trying to collect tax” and accused it of “nit-picking”.

An estimated 10 million people complete self-assessment returns, which can run to many pages and are broken down into sections covering a range of incomes and capital gains.

David Lawrenson, from Lettingfocus.com, a website for landlords, said: “There is a great deal of uncertainty among landlords about what expenses can be offset against income.”

HMRC has recently toughened its approach to tax collection, by hiring an extra 200 investigators in the past three years taking the total to more than 1,600. Plus in this year’s Budget, HMRC was granted powers to remove money directly from people’s bank accounts.

An HMRC spokesman said the increase in cases was because it was holding more compliance inquiries.  He said: “Inquiries are only opened where we believe there may be a problem causing the wrong tax to be paid.”

Leonherman operate a fee protection scheme to insure any professional fees are covered in relation to investigations by HMRC.

Our fee protection scheme is provided by CCH Premier Protection, we have found that this product meets the demands and needs of our clients who wish to protect themselves from the financial burden of a tax investigation.

Please get in touch to find out how this protection can give you peace of mind or call 0161 249 5040