Many of us believe that the chance of our business undergoing a tax investigation is as likely as being hit by lightning! It's something that happens to others, but not to us. However, HMRC is turning up the heat on SMEs and has implemented a tougher stance on tax evasion nationwide. So no one is immune to the threat of an investigation.
Another common response to the possibility of a tax investigation is to say, “So what! My books are completely straight and my accountant is excellent. I have nothing to worry about.” Yes, most accountants are excellent and the vast majority of businesses are honest, but dismissing an investigation as something trivial is a bit like saying an oncoming hurricane is a bit of a breeze.
A tax investigation is time consuming, worrying and takes hours of your valuable time. Hours that you want to spend running your business. The Revenue is run like a business, with targets and quotas to achieve, so it needs results. However, unlike you, tax inspectors are not working to time schedules and it is not their own business, so time is irrelevant. Indeed, one of the most worrying situations we often hear about is when small business owners choose to pay the demand, irrespective of the amount, simply to avoid the time-consuming misery of an investigation.
Many investigations start simply because your name came up at random on a computer. Other investigations are a result of blanket enquiries into a particular sector. For example, last year dentists, doctors and solicitors were targeted. This year it appears to be bed and breakfast and hotels. In fact, no business is too small to escape an investigation, as many eBay traders are discovering, and the experience can range from very annoying to catastrophic.
Defending yourself and your company in a tax investigation can be costly and time consuming. You will need to rely on an accountant or a tax specialist or run the risk of spending your valuable time doing all the work. Even if you win the case there is very little chance of repossessing the costs incurred.
Fortunately there is another approach. It makes sense to allow our team to work with you. We have a dedicated group of experts who are very experienced and deal exclusively with tax investigations. Their aim is to get the investigation over and closed as quickly as possible, to make sure that it is conducted fairly and most importantly, to ensure that you come out of it as unscathed as possible.
We will also work with your accountant, as long as they are happy to accept our T&Cs. This means that you will have the best team possible representing you, for the best possible outcome for you and your business. If you are going into battle, make sure you are wearing the best armour.