No matter how careful your bookkeeping or how diligent we are, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) may still choose you for one of their random investigations, Aspect Enquiries or disputes. Anyone who completes a tax return can be selected and HMRC don’t even have to give a reason.
HMRC’s annual report for 2005/06 stated that the number of enquiries and investigations equates to one every 30 seconds of the working day, and The Times newspaper reported on 2 January 2007 that HMRC inspectors are being offered bonuses for meeting their targets.
It’s fair to say that investigations are on the increase and that inspectors are approaching disputes more aggressively. This is particularly true of Aspect Enquiries, where the inspectors look into one aspect or more of your tax return without demanding to see all your books and records.
Investigations can be disruptive, intrusive and expensive. Sometimes a case can drag on for a year or more. Even if the final outcome is that you don’t have to pay any extra tax, you will still be faced with a bill for our professional fees incurred in settling the matter.
It is not unknown for a taxpayer to be forced into a settlement simply because the costs involved in fighting the case were becoming unaffordable.
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