A fishing trip where you are the fish

Categories: HMRC

This week I was contacted by a local Camden resident for a meeting. It transpired that his wife, who is clinically depressed, received a letter from HMRC claiming that they have evidence that income has been under declared since 2000. They won’t of course disclose what this source is in the hope that something else will be disclosed to them. Standard fishing trip procedure.
After some discussion it seems there is nothing to be uncovered but how best to deal with the HMRC “local” inspector in Brighton? As always these threatening letters generate a lot of stress but in this case it seemed to be worse than usual. Although not my usual advice I recommended that a face to face meeting with the inspector would be the way forward. This should get to the bottom of things, show co-operation and most importantly here clear matters up as quickly as possible.
If you choose to have a meeting with HMRC (you very rarely have to) whilst under investigation remember:

• Answer the questions asked, no more. Don’t volunteer information even if you think it helps your case
• Stick to the years under investigation
• Take notes
• If possible record the interview
• If you don’t know the answer to a question say so and agree a time to get the information to them and stick to it
• Stay calm, be polite
• Don’t be bullied or intimidated
• Be represented by an accountant or lawyer.