HMRC use new powers for a battering

 In HMRC Investigation

A few years back when I was writing a piece for The Sunday Times about HMRC (which you can see by clicking here). I broached the subject of HMRC getting given a whole range of new powers.

Here is how it appeared in the published text, ‘…Rob Lewis, at advice website Accountingweb.co.uk, said: “The Revenue now has the power to bug (only in criminal cases) and from April 2009 will have the right to carry out surprise spot-checks.”

‘The Revenue said: “The chance of our bugging anyone in a routine tax inquiry is nill. These powers would only be used for the most serious of criminal cases. It’s nonsence to link these powers to routine inquiries… our staff are well trained and act with integrity in a fair and reasonable way.”‘

Well I don’t know about bugging but unannounced spot checks seem to be happening. In a post entitled UNANNOUNCED VISIT BY HMRC OFFICERS TO CLIENT AT 9.00PM!!! one accountant talks about a client who was just been doorsteped by HMRC. The post reads:

“Just had a telephone call from a very upset client who had an unnounced visit by 2 HMRC inspectors to her fish and chip shop at 9.00pm last night. She was at home at the time and received a telephone call from a member of staff saying she was needed immediately.

“Both myself and my client had no notice of this visit and she was very distressed by it all. They asked lots of questions as to how she ran her business, how many times she banked, how she paid her suppliers etc etc etc. She was very open with them and answered all their questions. They then waited for her to cash up the till when the shop closed at 9.30pm to make sure it agreed with the till receipt, which it did. They then left leaving my client with no idea what would happen now.

“My first reaction was one of shock as I have never had this happen before and I immediately wanted to telephone HMRC to find out exactly what was going on but then I thought I would post here first to see if anyone else has any experience of this process and exactly why it has happened…”

For the full post and professional responses click here.

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