What Powers Does HMRC Have To Investigate Tax Fraud?

 HMRC has several powers similar to other law enforcement powers to counter tax fraud.

It Has Powers To –

  • Apply for production orders (I.e. to get disclosure of relevant materials/documentation)
  • Apply for search warrants
  • Make arrests
  • Search suspects and premises following arrest

Other Law Enforcement

However, HMRC does not have all of the powers that other law enforcement agencies have. For example, HMRC officers cannot take fingerprints or charge suspects. This has to be done by the police at a police station.

Some of the powers are modified for HMRC. For example, a search warrant may allow HMRC to search persons found on the premises, without the need for arrest. This allows HMRC to search a bookkeeper who may have evidence in a briefcase or laptop when a company’s premises are searched, but who is not considered a suspect.

The criminal investigation powers can be used only by authorised officers.


If you believe or suspect you are to be the subject of an HMRC criminal investigation, we strongly recommend that you seek urgent legal advice. If you would like to have a confidential discussion with a member of our team, if you complete our Contact Us Form, we will call you back at a time that is suitable for you or you can contact us directly on 01908 414990.