Tax Investigations

Tax investigations can be stressful and intimidating. Pierce understands this and can support you throughout the process.  We have a team of tax enquiry specialists who have a wealth of experience dealing with all kinds of tax investigations, tax enquiries, and conflicts with HM Revenue and Customs.

We can deal with HMRC directly, taking the pressure off and leaving you to focus on your main priority – your business.  We will defend your position and work towards reducing penalties and help obtain the best possible outcome for you. We have a highly qualified and experienced team, including Chartered Tax Advisors, Tax Accountants, and ex-HMRC staff. Our experience includes dealing with corporate tax, personal tax, and specialist investigations.

Pierce clients can benefit from the protection offered by our Tax Investigation Service. For a relatively modest annual fee, our Tax Investigation 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

HM Revenue & Customs are now much more focussed on tackling tax avoidance through targeted tax investigations.  HMRC’s initial review and selection process is largely automated and risk assessed based on the tax returns and, increasingly, third-party information. 

At Pierce, we have the experience to know which areas of your tax return will attract HMRC attention and we monitor HMRC investigations to look for evidence of trends or industry-specific enquiries so we can advise you of the risk of HMRC enquiry. 


"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 for you. Pierce has the staff with the specialist knowledge and experience to handle the enquiry on your behalf who can negotiate settlements on your behalf effectively."

Specialist Investigations

HM Revenue & Customs has a vast network of information available from third parties, banks, and foreign governments in their fight against tax avoidance and evasion. The risk of an HMRC enquiry is greater now than it has ever been.

HMRC are organising their resources into specialist teams to target specific avoidance and evasion. The highest level of risk is where HMRC open a criminal investigation.  We have specialists that would work to negotiate this risk away.  For civil investigations we would seek to reach a financial settlement provided full disclosure is made when challenged.

HMRC have introduced a number of disclosure facilities as an incentive to disclose tax due on UK and offshore income and assets.  If you or your company have reason to make a voluntary disclosure please get in touch with us as soon as possible.

In 2014 HMRC was given the power to issue an Accelerated Payment Notice (APN) where specific tax avoidance schemes have been used.  This is used by HM Revenue & Customs to demand payment, within 90 days of the notice being issued, before the outcome of their investigation is known.

COVID Grants & Support schemes

The introduction of the COVID grants, loans and support schemes in 2020 and 2021 has created a great deal of uncertainty for businesses who had to react quickly to rules and eligibility criteria changing on almost a monthly basis at times.

HMRC’s recent estimate for the amount lost to fraud and error in the schemes during 2020 to 2021 is £5.8 billion.

The government has invested over £100 million in a Taxpayer Protection Taskforce of 1,265 HMRC staff to combat fraud in the schemes. HMRC expect the Taskforce to allow them to increase one-to-one enquiries to 30,000 cases.

Penalties can be up to 100% of the grants overclaimed.

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 2019/20, HMRC raised £36.9 billion from tax investigations.

We run a Tax Investigation Service to help protect 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 could be substantial. A tax investigation could last for several months if not years and can be extremely stressful for you. We strongly recommend you consider subscribing to our Tax Investigations Service.


"Keeping up to date with the changes can be difficult and understanding what tax issues can arise be daunting."


Tax legislation is often used as a political tool and is therefore evolving at an unprecedented rate.  Keeping up to date with the changes can be difficult and understanding what tax issues can arise be daunting.  Our health checks afford you the opportunity to look critically at your processes and procedures to ensure that they are tax compliant and suggest any improvements.  Even if everything is in order a health check can give you peace of mind.

We recommend regular health checks 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 at hand. We can conduct PAYE health checks, employer compliance health checks (including HMRC Construction Industry Scheme issues and employment status issues), and VAT health checks.

The HMRC penalty regime can be onerous with substantial penalties unless you can demonstrate taking reasonable care to avoid errors.  A health check 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 health checks please contact us.

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