I can help you with all aspects of tax law including complex tax disputes, tax opinions, tax prosecutions, tax debt cases, and matters relating to IRD powers.
No one is thrilled to be audited or chased for debt by Inland Revenue. The temptation is to ignore the problem or leave it to the accountant. The early involvement of a specialist tax lawyer to assist you and your accountant gives you the greatest possible chance of cost-effectively putting your tax issue behind you and moving on with your life.
Contested tax matters can be highly complicated and stressful at the best of times -if Inland Revenue are alleging tax evasion or fraudulent tax avoidance the stakes are raised even higher. Inland Revenue’s successful criminal prosecutions lead to sentences of home detention and community work if a taxpayer is lucky, or a prison sentence if they are not so lucky. I have substantial experience in these most serious of cases.
Some examples of issues I can assist with follow:
Hospitality / small business cash suppression audits
Inland Revenue has an active programme targeting cash suppression by hospitality businesses. It is common for Inland Revenue to have detailed comparison data upfront and for them to have conducted covert inquiries. This type of audit can rapidly become very serious – an early negotiated civil settlement is a good outcome to aim for. If that fails, it’s a fight … battle of the statisticians … affairs dissected in the glare of a courtroom …
PAYE is not like other taxes – mere non-payment by due date can lead to a criminal prosecution. The goal is to prevent this …
Multi-revenue tax audits
This type of ‘general’ audit can lead to a range of outcomes from no tax adjustments at all through to fully-fledged tax evasion allegations and everything in between. Unlike hospitality audits and tax debt cases, it’s often unclear why Inland Revenue has decided to investigate a business. It becomes a game of chess … or poker …
Tax avoidance disputes
It is common to seek to structure a business in a tax-efficient way. Trading trusts, employee share purchase schemes, superannuation schemes, and hybrid instruments are just some of the things that can provide tax as well as commercial advantages, and yet be subject to scrutiny by Inland Revenue. Navigating through the tax avoidance minefield is one of the trickiest areas in tax and it’s an area I have substantial experience in.
Complex tax technical disputes
Quite apart from allegations of tax avoidance, many tax disputes are highly complex in their own right. Whether it’s a tricky accruals issue, a convoluted subdivision of land matter, or tax loss utilisation issue, I can guide you through the fog.
Tax debt negotiation
In recent years legislation has been enacted making it easier for taxpayers to get a time payment arrangement, a remission of part or all of a tax debt, and sometimes a combination of both time to pay and some sort of remission of debt. When I say it’s now easier to do a deal on a tax debt, just remember it used to be impossible, so ‘easier’ is a somewhat relative term. And you don’t just want a ‘deal’, you want a ‘good deal’ …
Tax debt litigation
Inland Revenue frequently seeks to make tax debts payable by seeking judgement in the case of individuals, or by issuing a statutory demand in the case of companies. Both these steps trigger tight time frames. If there is no adequate response by a taxpayer, Inland Revenue is very quick to commence either bankruptcy or liquidation proceedings. As usual with all types of tax matters, it is better go engage earlier with Inland Revenue utilising experienced experts to assist you. But life doesn’t always work out that way so if you do have a tax debt that Inland Revenue is pursuing in Court, there are still some good outcomes that an experienced tax lawyer can achieve.
Inland Revenue search and inquiry powers
Inland Revenue has the power to demand that documents and records be handed over, they can search either your business premises or your private house for documents and records, and they can compel you to attend an inquiry to answer questions on oath about your tax affairs. These are all highly intrusive powers, and they can all lead to highly adverse consequences. I have substantial experience dealing with these powers, including large-scale cases where complex issues of legal privilege arise in the context of the vast amount of information that can be contained on company computer servers.