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Taxman tackles financial crime

Member: Nifa

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has recently published its ‘Top 10’ successful prosecutions for tax crimes over the past 12 months. The cases include a variety of perpetrators, from business people and church leaders to the masterminds behind organised crime. All the cases involved painstaking, forensic financial investigation, much of it on a global scale.

According to HMRC, it is typically successful in around 90 per cent of the cases it brings to trial, with a spokesman saying that the Revenue is committed to tackling fraud and prosecuting anyone who steals from the public purse.

However, there is no detail available on the cases that the taxman started to investigate but then took no further, which might be because the accused were able to prove that they had not acted illegally.

When the taxman believes someone may have acted illegally, such as in the case of Hussain Asad Chohan, who owes the Revenue more than £53 million and went on the run before finally being captured in Canada, the forensic investigation is very complex; every tax return is scrutinised, as are the defendant’s accounts, transfers and other documentary evidence. Further evidence is also obtained and is put together to ensure that the case is as watertight as possible.

In this case, HMRC’s evidence would have been compelling but that is not always the case, so anyone caught in HMRC’s spotlight would be advised to hire a forensic accountant of their own as soon as possible.

Roger Isaacs, Partner at Milsted Langdon, said: “The success rate of HMRC in prosecutions for tax crimes should be a warning to anyone on its radar to seek specialist help.

Author: Roger Isaacs 4 January 2019

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