News for 20th February 2009 :: Tax inspectors get new powers
Ian Abrey, Principal at Hillier Hopkins LLP, Chartered Accountants and Tax Advisers warns, “People need to be aware that a request for information need no longer be related to an enquiry into a tax return. An Inspector now has the power to ask for anything reasonably required ‘for the purpose of checking the tax payer’s tax position’. This can relate to older years, the current year and conceivably even the future.”
According to the new rules, an Inspector does now not need approval from the Tax Tribunal (formerly the Commissioners) for a notice requiring a tax payer to provide information on their own tax affairs. However, any request must be reasonable and proportionate and a request for information which is not relevant, or excessive, for checking tax affairs should be questioned.
The new powers of inspection only apply to business premises, but could apply to a home if the person regularly works from home or keeps business records there.
At least 7 days notice of an inspection should normally be given. However, a senior Revenue employee can authorise a snap inspection without approval from the Tax Tribunal.
Alternatively an inspection can be arranged by mutual agreement. Ian has a further warning for people that, “If an Inspector turns up on your doorstep and if you allow him in this may be construed as a mutually agreed inspection!”
How Inspectors choose to use their new powers in practice remain to be seen. However, people should consider what records they need to keep and whether they are all in a state they would be happy to show to the Inspector.
Hillier Hopkins LLP operates a Tax Investigation Scheme which can protect individuals and businesses by covering the bulk of any professional fees that are incurred as a result of a HMRC investigation. Call 0845 770660 for more information.
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Notes to the Editor:
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Ian Abrey, former partner at international accounting group firm Mazars LLP, joined Hillier Hopkins’ Private Client Group in 2008 as Personal Tax Principal. Ian has 26 years of experience in providing advice for high net worth individuals, owner-managed businesses and family company shareholders on personal tax matters including estate planning and trusts, inheritance tax, capital gains tax and the new regime for non-domiciliaries.
Hillier Hopkins LLP offers advice and support to owner managed businesses and wealthy individuals throughout the south east of . Established for 75 years, Hillier Hopkins has developed a reputation for professional, high quality and personal service. It has 21 principals and 120 staff at offices in Aylesbury, Hemel Hempstead, London and Watford.
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