hmrc investigations

How Far Back Can HMRC Investigate Fraud?

October 5, 2023

HMRC conducts investigations into potential tax fraud cases based on their severity. In cases where deliberate tax fraud evasion is suspected, HMRC has the authority to investigate up to 20 years in the past. For investigations related to careless tax returns, they typically go back 6 years; for innocent errors, they can go back up to 4 years. If you are facing a tax fraud investigation, we highly advise you to seek legal representation from a serious fraud solicitor as soon as possible. 

The investigation usually begins with an inquiry into the most recent tax return. During this investigation, HMRC aims to determine the following:

  1. If there are no mistakes, they can close the investigation.
  2. If the mistake was due to an innocent error, they may review the previous 4 years.
  3. They may review the previous 6 years if the mistake resulted from negligence.
  4. If the mistake was a deliberate attempt to evade tax, they might review the previous 20 years.

At any point in the investigation, HMRC may alter their position on the reason for mistakes or omissions. For instance, if they initially believe an error was an innocent one-time mistake but later find evidence suggesting ongoing negligence, they may further extend the tax fraud investigation and request additional information.

HMRC can also initiate investigations into an individual’s finances based on information received from sources other than tax returns, such as Land Registry records or overseas banking details. These investigations can cover a similar time frame. A serious fraud solicitor can support you through each step of the investigation process. 

Naturally, the deeper HMRC delves into records, the more demanding and stressful the tax fraud investigation can become for individuals. The volume of information and level of detail requested by HMRC can be overwhelming. Therefore, seeking specialised advice from a serious fraud solicitor early on is crucial to ensure you make informed decisions, including the option to challenge HMRC if appropriate.

Regardless of the tax fraud investigation stage, consulting with a serious fraud solicitor is advisable. At Cunningham’s solicitors, we strongly recommend seeking legal assistance to address your tax fraud investigation concerns. 

By seeking legal representation with Cunninghams serious fraud solicitors, you can access confidential and practical assistance from experienced solicitors based in Manchester and London, with over 20 years of experience defending clients’ serious fraud charges. Our team of experienced serious fraud solicitors have the expertise to help you build a strong case and to support you through each stage.

Cunninghams initial advice is always free of charge and can be contacted at 0800 051 2542 or enquire online.