Tax investigations

Tax investigations by officers of HMRC can be very intrusive. The pressure on individuals running businesses can be enormous. During this important and very difficult time it’s critical you have a lawyer by your side with sufficient experience to help you navigate your way through the investigation. The use of diplomacy, tact and a well planned strategy is critical. I have a great deal of experience in this area and have achieved a very high level of success to date.

After an investigation, if HMRC decides not to prosecute due to insufficient prospect of conviction, they may consider an alternative method of dealing with a case and decide to impose a penalty for unpaid tax. Very often this results in a dispute as to whether tax was owed in the first place, and if so, how much? These disputes often end up in the Tax Tribunals.

Most direct tax and indirect tax appeals are now heard by the First-Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber), with a right of appeal (with permission) to the Upper Tribunal. Tax Tribunals are formal with greater requirements placed on the submission and presentation of evidence and strict time deadlines that must be met. It is a litigious process and because of that HMRC uses dedicated Advocacy Units to handle Tax Tribunal hearings. If HMRC is engaging its own specialists, so should you. Before an appeal can be submitted to the Tribunal Service, you must first have a written appealable decision from HMRC with which you disagree.

I have extensive experience in assisting clients in dispute with HMRC. I know how best to potentially challenge HMRC’s decision as part of a ‘review’, what the prospects of success are at Tribunal and how best to prepare any case for Tribunal hearing. I will present you with all available options and what the consequences of taking each option will be to allow you to formulate and agree an overall strategy.

As part of the appeal process, you have a statutory right to an independent internal HMRC ‘review’ of the case by someone outside of the line-management chain of the HMRC Case Officer. HMRC must take account of any representations made by you as part of a review. Consequently, it is the perfect time to obtain a second opinion from a tax litigation specialist. A fresh pair of eyes and a different approach often helps sway the outcome of the review. This means that potentially expensive litigation can be avoided.

In the first instance I will attempt to settle the case without litigation. Where litigation before the Tribunal cannot be avoided my service would include:

  • Liaising with HMRC and the Tribunal Service throughout the appeal process;
  • Representation at any pre-hearings before the Tax Tribunal;
  • Handling the Directions issued by the Tax Tribunal;
  • Collation and preparation on the documents on which our case relies;
  • Interrogating HMRC’s Statement of Case;
  • If appropriate, taking and preparing Witness Statements;
  • Preparing court bundles for the Tax Tribunal; and
  • Attendance at the Tribunal Hearing.

Putting it simply, I will provide a discreet and comprehensive service that is tailored to meet your unique needs and protect your interests.

Chambers and Partners 2021

"He's exceptionally talented and an extremely able barrister due to his grasp of the law and sensible approach to the jury. He can outshine leading silks on his day."

Chambers and Partners 2020

Highly sought after for his calm and collective approach which is never anything but measured. He is well received by clients, fellow professionals and the judiciary.” “He is meticulous in his preparation and presents his cases well before the court.”

Legal 500 2020

“He is a particularly strong junior in serious crime and fraud. He has dry wit that can wither any hostile witness testimony with ease. He has a huge practice nationally in complex crime. A very safe pair of hands”

Legal 500 2019

Has a great eye for detail”

Legal 500 2018

“Advises on serious financial crime matters. Regularly defends cases of mortgage, tax and investment fraud”

Chambers and Partners 2017:

“Recognised for advising on serious financial crime matters. He regularly defends cases of mortgage, tax and investment fraud ….His written work is particularly good."

Legal 500 2016:

‘His calm persona can cut through complex issues with ease’.

Chambers and Partners 2016:

‘Particularly noted for his expertise in cartel investigations, insider dealing and rate fixing matters. He routinely represents large corporations and individuals’

Legal 500 2015:

‘…often has the prosecution running around in circles’

Chambers and Partners 2015:

Has a nationwide financial crime practice and is regularly instructed to defend in complex fraud cases…….has an A to Z knowledge of fraud work."

Legal 500 2014:

‘An excellent jury advocate’

Chambers and Partners 2014:

‘Has a practice encompassing mortgage, tax and insurance fraud cases.

Legal 500 2013:

mindblowingly experienced'

Chambers and Partners 2013:

praised for his ability to handle cases which combine civil and criminal fraud elements. He has a national fraud profile, and handles mortgage and insurance frauds, money laundering matters and MTIC cases’ 

Chambers and Partners 2012:

‘a diligent professional acclaimed for his fantastic knowledge of his subject’

Chambers and Partners 2011:

'fights really hard for his clients and is very good tactically’

Legal 500 2011:

‘is comfortable with any level of tribunal and is completely au fait with complex legal issues’

Legal 500:

‘is widely experienced in fraud…has good experience in conspiracy trials’

Legal 500:

‘has a serious crime practice for his call and good experience in fraud and conspiracy trials’

Legal 500:

‘has a busy serious crime practice’

“I am delighted with the verdict. I am an innocent man and I’m glad the jury believed in me. This has been a very difficult time for me. My reputation was badly damaged after my arrest but now I can get on with my life as an innocent man with my head held high. I would like to take this opportunity to say I am especially indebted to my Barrister, Mr Ashraf Khan. Without his support I would have been lost”

QM, acquitted after a 5 month sexual abuse trial.

I cannot describe how happy I am today. Thank you Ashraf for all your help through this difficult period in my life. I was so scared I would loose my livelihood. I owe you so much”

TH, an independent financial adviser, acquitted after a 4 month fraud trial.


“I am delighted with the verdict! Thank you so much”

DO, acquitted of Grievous Bodily Harm after a trial.


“Brilliant result, thanks so much! Thank you for all the hard work and taking the time to understand our case; our previous lawyers just didn’t want to know”.

GH, acquitted of large scale drugs conspiracy.



“Thank you for everything! I could have spent my whole life in prison for something I didn’t do!

LW, acquitted of gang related murder after a 10 week trial.



“Thank you Mr Khan for all your hard work during this long and difficult trial. We knew we could always rely on you. You were superb!”

DM, acquitted of large scale drugs conspiracy.