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Five ways to survive a tax investigation

It’s a nerve-wracking situation for any company: the tax inspectors have arrived and they’re going through every scrap of paper your business has produced for the last five years. Keep your cool. Don’t panic. And read these words of wisdom. These are our pick of the crop from the Times selection.

Don’t discuss your tax affairs with anyone except an expertA lot of people want to talk to someone about the problems they are having and it is remarkable how easily this can get back to HM Revenue & Customs. Keep schtum. Even walls have ears.

Don’t lie to the taxmanFiona Fernie, a partner at BDO Stoy Hayward, says: "This is the most crucial piece of advice. If I had to give just one tip, this would be it." You could end up in prison.Don’t assume the Revenue is ignorant of anything The Revenue has a huge number of sources of information about you and you would be surprised at how much they know. Your accounts are publicly available on Companies House and a lot of directors information, from addresses to credit checks are at the taxman’s fingertips..

Make significant payments on account, where relevant This will be regarded as a sign of co-operation by the taxman and could earn you brownie points. If an unpaid tax bill crops up, pay it on the spot. At the same time by paying off parts of your tax bill you are saving yourself interest on the outstanding debt.

Don’t try to destroy evidence This is not going to help your case. The Revenue will always assume the worst if documents are missing and you could end up being asked for more, not less, tax.

To read all ten tips, click here.

Related articles Michael Van Clarke’s crusade against hair-raising taxes 27 ways to slash your tax bill

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