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Surviving an HMRC Investigation

An investigation from HMRC can be scary, to say the least. However, if your taxes have come under scrutiny, it is important to handle the situation in the correct manner. It can be easy to worry, panic and think the worst, yet once you have got over the initial shock of the letter that you have received, you should start planning for what lies ahead. Take note of the following five pieces of advice to help you through the situation.

  1. Find an experienced advisor – The first thing you need to do is try and remain calm, and this is often the hardest part, yet you need to think rationally if you are going to handle the situation effectively. You will need to find an expert accountancy company who has experience in resolving investigations from the taxman. They will know exactly how these sorts of investigations work and how the taxman operates, and thus they will be able to predict what’s going to take place and ensure you are best prepared.
  2. Ask questions – There are many instances when an investigation takes place and people don’t fully understand why the taxman is asking certain questions or why they have been investigated. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, in fact, you are encouraged to do so. It is vital that you fully understand the situation.
  3. Keep all evidence – One of the biggest mistakes people make is destroying all of the evidence. You may think that it is better for the HMRC to have nothing to assess at all, yet this is not the case. If you destroy evidence, you already look guilty – it is like you have something to hide. If you have not been keeping your records effectively, you and your accountant need to start working hard to bridge the gap.
  4. Prepare properly of any meetings – There is no such thing as too much preparation when it comes to a business meeting with the taxman. You need to ensure that you are prepared for any question they may ask, and you will need to have any relevant notes or documents with you.
  5. Be honest – If you find that there is something that doesn’t add up regarding your tax return, the best thing to do is be upfront about it. If you don’t do this, you will only end up suffering larger penalties when the HMRC do their investigations and find out the truth about the situation.

If you follow the five pieces of advice that have been provided in this article, you will be best equipped to deal with any tax investigation that comes your way. The most important thing is to make sure you have an experienced and top quality accountant on your side, who can walk you through the entire process and provide you with all of the assistance and knowledge required. Walking into this alone, with your eyes shut, is a complete recipe for disaster. Instead, prepare fully for all eventualities, ensure your records are up to date, and be honest.

About the author, Mark

Mark Asquith is a serial entrepreneur who has built globally successful design, marketing, software and digital businesses since he quit his real job in 2005.

A passionate podcaster, global keynote speaker and helpful bloke, Mark is the co-founder of Podcast Websites and the creator of Excellence Expected. He has a terribly embarrassing beard.

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