What is an HMRC raid?
A raid or search and seizure operation is the culmination of an intensive investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), often including surveillance. The raid is often the first time that the suspects will know of the criminal tax investigation.
The raid itself is often conducted under the authority of search warrants before the working day commences in order to secure evidence and arrest all the suspects whilst undertaking simultaneous raids.
Following an arrest, the suspects are taken to a police station to be interviewed under caution. Potential witnesses (including current and former associates/colleagues) will also be interviewed.
What should I do?
A raid will often involve other government departments, not just HMRC and the police.
If you are raided, you should:
- obtain specialist advice without delay to attend at each location
- establish the scope of the search warrant to understand the limits of where they are to enter and what can be seized and removed
- provide reasonable assistance including the provision of computer passwords and access to any secured areas. Remember that HMRC is entitled to use reasonable force to access material
- allow electronic images to be taken of any computer as required by the warrant
- request copies of the Logging Sheets and all documentation seized and removed
- manage what is said to staff, suppliers and customers
How we can help
We can assist you and your legal advisers in determining all the relevant facts and make your defence robust, minimising the disruption a raid will inevitably cause.
Although HMRC will invest significant resources in both preparing for and mounting a raid, if a taxpayer comes forward and makes a Disclosure to HMRC, then HMRC may be persuaded not to pursue a criminal investigation.
If you know or suspect that you need to disclose undeclared income, profits and/or gains to HMRC, Haines Watts can assist and advise you in order to protect you from a potential criminal investigation and the resulting prosecution.
If you wish to discuss this or any other matter with a member of the team, please contact us.