HMRC Covid Fraud Investigations Into Covid Support Schemes
HMRC has made it a priority to pursue those suspected of abusing the covid support schemes and are actively pursing a number of Covid Fraud Investigations. A dedicated taskforce of over 1000 HMRC officers is currently investigating suspected fraudulent covid support claims. These specialised HMRC officers are actively now pursing companies and individuals suspected of making fraudulent claims or abusing the Covid support schemes.
It is very important that if you receive a letter relating to a covid fraud investigation that you seek legal advice as soon as possible. Being the subject of a covid fraud investigation is a potentially serious matter. It will not resolve itself without you engaging with HMRC.
Altion Law are experts at dealing with Covid Fraud Investigations from individuals and company directors. If you are concerned you will be investigated or have already received a covid fraud investigation letter from HMRC and would like to have a confidential discussion with a member of our team, please either make a Free Request For Call Back or call us directly on 01908 414990 and we will be pleased to help you.
Government statistics suggest £150bn was issued in covid support schemes, of this, £5bn is currently estimated to be linked to fraud or abuse. HMRC are now seeking to recoup and pursue those individuals and companies suspected of covid support scheme fraud.
The main covid support schemes were:
- Furlough Fraud Investigations Coronavirus Job Retention scheme – the furlough scheme ( CJRS )
- Bounce Back Loan Fraud Investigations ( BBLS )
- Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan ( CBILS )
- Self -Employment Income Support Scheme ( SEISS)
The inital covid investigation letter may come from HMRC or it may come from NATIS, which is the National Investigation Service. NATIS focuses on investigation of serious and organised crime. NATIS are currently specifically focusing on criminal and civil covid investigations into the Bounce Back Loan Scheme. You may also receive a letter from HMRC Fraud Investigation Services.
If you have received a letter stating you are the subject of a Covid investigation with HMRC, this is a serious matter and needs to be addressed urgently. Criminal sentences, financial penalties, and director disqualification are a number of the potential outcomes of a Covid Fraud investigation. HMRC can hold company directors both jointly and severally liable.
A covid fraud investigation is likely to start as a civil investigation but can become a criminal investigation. It is unlikely that legal aid will cover any civil investigation costs.
The Insolvency Service also has new powers to investigate directors of dissolved companies. These powers are expected to be used among small and mid sized companies, who obtained bounce back loans. Directors maybe suspected by HMRC of seeking to dissolve the entity without having to repay any covid support scheme liabilities. Previously directors may have dissolved companies and may have avoided repaying covid support funds that their businesses received.
Altion Law can assist with covid fraud investigations and our team are aware of the sensitivities and concerns from companies and individuals who maybe the subject of an investigation. Altion Law also understands the need to work alongside accountants and with insolvency professionals. If you would like to have a confidential discussion with a member of our team, please either make a Free Request For Call Back or call us directly on 01908 414990 and we will be pleased to help you.
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