Tax Investigations

A tax investigation can be very stressful and having an accountant who understands the process can alleviate a lot of the pressure you may be facing. Pierce specialises in resolving all kinds of tax investigations, tax enquiries and conflicts with HM Revenue and Customs.

We do everything we can to meet our clients individual needs and shoulder the pressure leaving them to focus on their main priority – their business. Our clients have the minimal contact necessary with HMRC, while we defend the client’s position and work together to mitigate any possible tax penalty and agree fair settlement.

We have a highly qualified and experienced team, including Chartered Tax Advisors, Tax Accountants and ex-HMRC staff. Their experience includes dealing with corporate tax, personal tax and specialist investigations.

Clients of Pierce can benefit from the protection offered by our Tax Investigation Scheme. For a relatively modest annual fee, the our Tax Investigation Scheme service ensures that the professional costs of dealing with HMRC enquiries and inspections will be met up to a limit of £100,000. Please contact us for full details.

Business and Personal

The move to self assessment resulted in HM Revenue & Customs becoming much more focussed in their tax investigations. The initial review and selection process is now largely automated and risk assessed based on the information submitted on personal and business tax returns, before being handed to a HMRC member of staff to pursue.  At Pierce we have the experience to know what areas will attract HMRC attention, additionally we monitor HMRC investigations and enquiries to look for evidence of trends or industry specific enquiries in order that we can advise our clients of the risk HMRC enquiry or investigation.  Enquiries are handled by our experienced staff backed up by ex-HMRC staff with the knowledge and expertise with the aim of obtaining the best possible outcome for our client.  Additionally we aim to take away the stress involved in a HMRC enquiry or investigation, whether this is handling all correspondence and discussions on your behalf or meeting with HMRC staff here at our offices.

Specialist Investigations

HM Revenue & Customs have announced they are bringing online a new information gathering system as an aide in their fight against tax evasion and avoidance. This combined with a number of initiatives (such as the agreements with banks to provide information relating to accounts held offshore) mean that the risk of a HMRC enquiry is greater now than it has ever been. HMRC are organising their resources into specialist teams which will target specific evasion. The highest level of risk is of course that were HMRC decide to mount a criminal prosecution but below this are other investigations that will be conducted by HMRC Specialist Investigations office usually with a view to reaching a financial settlement provided a full disclosure is made when challenged. This office is staffed by well qualified and experienced tax professionals. All heads of tax will be included in an investigation of this type and can involve the preparation and submission of a detailed report covering your business and taxation affairs for up to 20 years.

Should you be unfortunate enough to be selected for an enquiry of this type taking the right advice is critical to obtaining the best outcome.  Pierce have the staff with the specialist knowledge and experience to handle the enquiry on your behalf who are able to negotiate settlements on your behalf effectively.

Fee Protection

We have noticed a more aggressive attitude from HMRC in recent years and we are very concerned about this new approach especially as this will mean more and more innocent businesses and individuals are likely to be investigated. HMRC do not need a reason to investigate you and they can investigate anyone at random.

As revealed in its annual reports and accounts for 2016/17, HMRC raised £28.9 billion from tax investigations.

It was also HMRC’s seventh consecutive year of record total tax revenues, collecting a total of £574.9 billion – £38.1 billion more than the previous year.

At Pierce, we run a Tax Investigation Service to help protect our clients against the professional costs involved in a tax investigation or enquiry. This service is backed by an insurance policy we have taken out in our own name. We must stress that dealing with a tax investigation is not included in our normal fees and the costs involved can be substantial. A tax investigation could last for several months if not years and can be extremely stressful for you. We strongly recommend you subscribe to our Tax Investigations Service.


Whether related to your financial affairs or personal health – come highly recommended: they afford you the opportunity to look critically at what is going on with your finances and then to act on recommendations to improve them or to prevent being presented with a large tax bill – plus a penalty.  Even if nothing is found a healthcheck can add to your peace of mind.

We recommend regular healthchecks be conducted outside of an audit or the preparation of your accounts or tax returns. This enables the check to cover areas and aspects not just related to the job in hand. We can conduct healthchecks on your PAYE or employer compliance (including HMRC Construction Industry issues and employment status issues) and also VAT.

HMRC penalty regime was intended not to penalise taxpayers who make an innocent error, however in practice even an relatively innocuous mistake can incur a substantial penalty unless you can demonstrate taking reasonable care to avoid this. A healthcheck is just one such way of demonstrating care in organising and running your taxation affairs correctly.

If you would like to know more about our Healthchecks please speak to your usual contact at Pierce.

  • Nadeem Hussain

    Nadeem Hussain

  • Tom Wilkinson

  • Steve Outhwaite

  • Kelly Cosgrove

    Kelly Cosgrove

  • Ben Davies

    Ben Davies

  • Sarah Smith

  • John Wilkin

  • Anne Wilson

    Senior Tax Manager