Investigating higher earners
The National Audit Office (NAO) has published a report on enquiries by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) into ‘super-rich’ taxpayers and identified how these people are investigated. According to the NAO, one in three of the richest people in the UK are under “formal enquiry” at any one time by the taxman and there is a taskforce set up specifically to catch those who may be evading paying the correct amount of tax.
Where an enquiry identifies suspected fraud by a high net worth taxpayer, the case must be referred to HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service. Each case will be considered for criminal investigation. If there are grounds for a full criminal enquiry, a team, which can consist of forensic accountants, will take over.
Forensic accountants, acting for HMRC or for tax-payers, are expert at finding where money and assets may have been hidden or demonstrating innocence if allegations have been made which are not supported by the evidence. Using sophisticated software and having years of experience; they will look into financial dealings from every angle, sifting through bank statements, email correspondence and any other documentation that may be relevant. They can track ownership of property and other luxury assets and investigate how their acquisition may have been funded.
If the cases then come to court, they can act as expert witnesses and will present their findings to judges and non-financial people in a clear and understandable manner.
Author: Roger Isaacs, 7 November 2016
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