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Beware the taxman is also fighting back!

HMRC apparently conducted 337,000 enquiries into UK taxpayers last year and although HMRC temporarily paused launching any new investigations following the coronavirus outbreak, it did not stop all its investigatory work. 

Tax enquiries can involve HMRC demanding data, visiting business premises and even interviewing company directors. A failure to comply with tax enquiries, for example by choosing to ignore data requests, can result in a fine. There may be several stages involved in these enquiries which can last for several years. 

If HMRC finds any evidence of tax evasion during its enquiry then it will launch a full-blown investigation which will look into a taxpayer’s affairs more broadly, such as tax returns from previous years. HMRC often uses ‘open source’ material available on the internet such as social media platforms (where privacy settings have not been turned on), blogs, websites and Companies House records. 

HMRC has since reallocated a large amount of its compliance resources to focus on administering Covid-19 schemes, such as checking furlough scheme claims. If you have realised that you have made a mistake in furlough calculations - it is vital that you report this now rather than risk HMRC finding out at a later date.