As we slowly emerge from the grips of the pandemic, with the recent announcement by the Chancellor of a £100m fund for a Taxpayer Protection taskforce, (TPT), it is inevitable that we will see an increase in investigations into suspected wrongdoing, relating to claims made under the various schemes on offer by the government. Staffed by over 1000 HMRC officers, their task will be to look into suspected wrongful claims, and investigate allegations of fraud.
There will be a focus on fraud schemes said to be operated by organised crime groups, targeting a systematic assault on the public funds, but it is likely we will also see an increase in investigations carried out into individuals and small businesses.
There has been much criticism of the regulation of the schemes on offer and the guidance available for eligible claims. As a result, it is inevitable that many companies and individuals alike will find themselves receiving a dreaded letter from HMRC, as enquiries into claims gather pace. Others may well receive a more direct ‘knock on the door’ from officers looking to gather evidence. In many cases, however, the issue will be whether monies were unintentionally over-claimed, or where provable, whether there are mitigating circumstances giving rise to the funds claimed.
As an alternative to a criminal investigation, HMRC may consider, where relevant, issuing a notice under their civil procedures, known as a COP9.
Whether there are accusations of fraud on a large scale, or more targeted enquiries into suspected irregularities, we are on hand to help with whatever may be faced, and our team will provide the advice and assistance needed to combat the allegations.