Home  >  News & Insight  >  Cowgills Tax Investigation Service – don’t leave the cost of an HMRC enquiry to chance

Cowgills Tax Investigation Service – don’t leave the cost of an HMRC enquiry to chance

What is Cowgills Tax Investigation Service (TIS)?

Cowgills TIS gives you the peace of mind that in the event of an HMRC tax investigation you are not only protected against the professional costs but could also avoid a huge tax bill.

For an annual charge, you can be assured that our fees associated with an HMRC enquiry are covered.

The risk of an enquiry is very real.

Even if you’ve done nothing wrong, anyone can be selected for an investigation by HMRC. No business is too small or too large for HMRC to challenge. Following the recent ‘Furlough’ scheme, we are anticipating an increase in HMRC investigations, where they will focus on  ‘furlough fraud’. Your TIS cover includes these investigations too.

How have we helped?

Here are a selection of concluded cases from last year where Cowgills TIS cover helped clients.

High net worth individual

HMRC challenged a large loss relief claim. The enquiry took six years and was resolved via alternative dispute resolution where an agreement was finally reached with HMRC. The cost of the enquiry was over £75,000

Large business – cross tax enquiry

HMRC undertook a full review of the accounting records of the business and the tax affairs of the owners of a care sector group. All taxes were reviewed and required extensive input from the practice, with HMRC officers spending five days on site. 18 months later the enquiry closed with a significant tax settlement, and accountancy fees of £40,000.

Personal tax enquiry

Following a property sale, HMRC opened an enquiry into an individual’s Capital Gains Tax position; requesting property valuations, leases and even challenging the transaction, as it involved a business part-owned by a member of the client’s family. The enquiry was relatively short, but entailed much detailed correspondence. HMRC accepted there was no additional tax to pay, yet the fees were still £3,500.


HMRC were contesting a research and development (R&D) tax relief claim, despite the practice having submitted a comprehensive report to support the figures. HMRC wanted further detailed information and ultimately insisted upon a meeting with the practice, a director and a technical specialist from the company to talk through the projects. Only then, did HMRC subsequently accept the claim for loss relief. Final costs incurred to resolve the enquiry were £6,500.

Why take out Cowgills TIS cover?

Simply, the cost of not doing so could be an unnecessarily high tax bill or significant fees.

No-one can prevent an investigation, but our tax investigations package:

  • will remove your concerns about the rising costs of enquiries
  • ensures you receive the best defence to protect your tax position
  • enables us to challenge HMRC’s assertions and assumptions head on, and that the basis of any enquiry is correct and that your case is handled fairly
  • ensures the tax inspector is only asking for relevant information and documents, and provide all supporting information from our files that relates to your accounts
  • handles all communications with HMRC, including letters, phone calls or notices issued
  • prepares for and attend any face-to-face meetings with the tax inspector
  • argues any complex or technical tax cases that are raised during the enquiry

Reasons to act now.

  1. Enquiries are taking more time to deal with and are becoming more expensive as a consequence. Yet the cost of not defending enquiries properly is huge.
  2. If you cannot afford the defence, you could end up paying a much higher tax bill.
  3. Tax investigations can happen to anyone: whether you are an individual or in business; however good your records; even at random.
  4. HMRC have access to data from merchant acquirers, banks and building societies, property-based information, land registry, letting agents, mortgage applications, DVLA, foreign data from overseas tax authorities, the tax evasion hotline – and they continue to expand their data sources. Even if you have done nothing wrong, you can be selected.
  5. HMRC are using their compliance resources to undertake targeted campaigns and cross-tax enquiries in an attempt to maximise the tax they can recover.
  6. We can’t take away the stress and anxiety of being under investigation, but we can remove the cost, and work to achieve the best outcome for you.

Get in touch

Whether it’s a PAYE or VAT visit, a technical challenge or a detailed books and records enquiry, Cowgills TIS is designed to get you a fair result. It is why we strongly recommend that all our clients consider subscribing. For advice please get in touch enquiries@cowgills.co.uk


The information was correct at time of publishing but may now be out of date.

Posted by Lisa Wilson
9th July, 2020
Get in touch with Lisa Wilson