Cheating the Revenue
Cheating the Revenue is a serious offence that can lead to a lengthy prison sentence and possible confiscation of your assets. Cases are often complex and can span over a long period of time. It is essential that you contact an experience criminal defence solicitor who will be able to assemble the right team to make sure your case is prepared thoroughly.
Cheating the Revenue is a long standing and broadly defined crime. It is not a statutory offence, but is what is known as a common law crime, which means on conviction any sentence (a fine or imprisonment) is potentially limitless. It is therefore critical that you contact a criminal defence lawyer if you are being investigated for this offence.
Previously Cheating the Revenue was prosecuted by the Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office, an arm of HMRC, but responsibility for prosecuting this offence has now been taken over by the Central Fraud Group of the Crown Prosecution Service.
There are several different ways of Cheating the Revenue including VAT fraud and income tax fraud; the offence covers any form of fraudulent conduct by which money is diverted from revenue-gathering authorities. In addition it is common for charges of money laundering or false accounting to be brought alongside charges of Cheating the Revenue.
In tax investigations the Revenue are often keen to come to a financial settlement in order to avoid the time and cost of prosecution, and there will often be several opportunities for an individual to cooperate with the Revenue to “come clean” about their tax affairs. In these circumstances an accountant alone may deal with your case without the need for a specialist criminal lawyer.
However in the circumstances where it is clear to you that you may be prosecuted for Cheating the Revenue because you are being interview under caution or because the Revenue has passed their file over to their Special Compliance office and are questioning you under their COP9, Civil Investigation of Fraud procedure, it is strongly advised that you seek specialist advice from a criminal solicitor.
When being prosecuted for Cheating the Revenue your criminal defence solicitor should work in partnership with specialist forensic accountants to help you achieve the best result.