The business world of the United Kingdom is a complex place for anyone to operate and make a living in. Once people understand these complexities they can clearly see why it is so difficult for businesses to succeed and stay on the right side of all the legal requirements that may surround them. Many businesses will try to stay up to date with the returns that they need to provide to the HMRC such as their VAT returns and Corporate Tax Returns as they are well aware of the need to do so. However, not all businesses stay on top of their paperwork and this can quickly lead them to be in a very sticky situation.
One thing to keep in mind is when a business runs foul of the laws surrounding them by not providing the HMRC with the information that is legally required, then action will be taken against them that may lead to them being prosecuted for seeking to defraud. This may mean that the business will need to engage the services of a specialist fraud solicitor. These expert people do not just understand the laws around finance and financial reporting, but often also have a deep understanding of the accounts of a business and how to analyse them in order to identify any errors.
Not every mistake is deliberate
When considering if a business has sought to defraud the HMRC there is a body of evidence that has to be collected and analysed in order to prove that a business has sought to carry out a deliberate act of making a wrongful declaration that may affect the level of tax they may have to pay. Businesses should remember that no penalties or actions would be taken against them for making an honest mistake due to a lack of knowledge or an act of incompetence of the business reporting officer.
Should a business find that they are being investigated by the HMRC and the police for a potential act of fraud it is important that they appoint a qualified professional to represent them as soon as possible, as there will be a need to ensure that the legal rights of the owners of the business are not compromised outside of the investigation.
The owners and main officers of the business may be asked to attend a police station or tax office for an interview where they will be asked to answer questions about the business’s actions, activity and their involvement. It is essential that a legal representative for the business is present at this interview as this will protect the rights of the person being interviewed and should prevent anyone from incriminating themselves beyond the scope of the investigation being carried out.
Progressing to court
Should the investigation proceed and lead to a case being brought against a number of people involved in a business the legal representative will stay involved with the case until its full conclusion, should the business wish them to. It will be important that those from the business listen to the advice of the fraud solicitor involved in the case, as this may give them the best chance of gaining a positive result that sees the case against them not affecting the rest of their lives.