HMRC targets professional football amidst allegations of £5million tax fraud

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigators carried out a series of dawn raids involving a number of professional football executives who are all suspected of tax fraud.

HMRC confirmed that it had deployed 180 fraud investigation officers across the UK and France on 26 April and during their search of premises, they seized business documents, financial records, computers and mobile phones.

Both West Ham United and Newcastle United are being investigated for suspected income tax and national insurance fraud, which is believed to amount to £5million in unpaid revenue.

The dawn raids led to a number of arrests under HMRC’s criminal investigation powers including Lee Charnley, Managing Director of Newcastle United, although he was later released without charge.

As part of its wider investigations into tax fraud, inspectors also visited the premises of Chelsea FC although it was not subjected to a raid and no arrests were made.

Dr Anjulika Salhan, a director and tax investigation specialist with Salhan Accountants commented: “Under HMRC’s wide reaching criminal investigation powers, where tax fraud is suspected HMRC can apply for a warrant to enter and search and may use reasonable force to execute the warrant.

“This visit from HMRC, under the authority of a search warrant, is what is often referred to as a dawn raid. HMRC has the power to inspect premises and, if the individual is present, they will be presented with a search warrant.

“Although the world of professional football may seem a far cry from the day to day world of business and commerce it is important to recognise that anyone suspected of serious tax fraud may potentially be subjected to a dawn raid.

“If HMRC inspectors show up at your premises unannounced, it is important to identify who is the HMRC team leader and what the search warrant allows HMRC to do. It is worth remembering that any members of staff who are present can also be searched if HMRC has reasonable cause.

“We would advise anyone who finds themselves under investigation in this way to take copies of computer files, as HMRC may remove the computers and you may be without information for many months.

“During a dawn raid an individual must not attempt to obstruct HMRC’s visit, but should seek immediate professional assistance. Our Tax Investigation team offers out of office support for clients who are the subject of a dawn raid.

“At Salhan Accountants, we work extremely hard for clients subjected to a taxation investigation. We not only clarify the issues and the process, but come up with solutions too. Our experience, professional reputation, forensic attention to detail and negotiating skills mean we are well-placed to achieve positive outcomes.

“Whether an individual or company, talking to us is your best step towards addressing a taxation investigation and moving on with your life.”

For more information about our taxation investigation services, please contact us.