Civil Recovery & Tax Tribunals
There can be no doubt that the Government through the National Crime Agency and HMRC is targeting assets which are said to be the proceeds of crime more keenly than ever. With current straitened public finances there is a great hunger to claw money back to the state and, inevitably, individuals and businesses who work with anything other than orthodox financial practices may be at risk of losing legitimately obtained assets as a result of being challenged by the authorities to prove the provenance of questioned funds.
The expertise of Drystone Chambers in Proceeds of Crime has made us an obvious choice in asset recovery cases, particularly where issues of money laundering are engaged. We act in proceedings for civil recovery of the proceeds of unlawful conduct under Part 5 of PoCA and also cash seizure cases. To assist clients meet the costs of litigation we can review and challenge the scope and legality of a Property Freezing Order; and apply for exemptions from the PFO to permit the released of frozen assets to the costs of legal representation.
Drawing on our strength as leaders in the field of criminal and commercial fraud cases Drystone offers a wealth of skills, knowledge and experience that can be applied to our clients' advantage in civil recovery proceedings. We offer a highly responsive service and can draft and respond to freezing orders, search orders and disclosure orders at extremely short notice. We seek to maintain our client’s advantage at all stages of litigation, from pre-action advice to trial.
A particularly striking recent development is the strategy of the NCA to take over the revenue functions of HMRC in making tax assessments based on income said to derived from the proceeds of crime. Part 6 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (s.317) permits the NCA to adopt the taxation functions of HMRC in circumstances where it reasonably suspects income arises or accrues (wholly or partly, directly or indirectly) as a result of the person or another's criminal conduct. While the purpose of this legislation is to tax undeclared income (including the proceeds of crime), the NCA does not have to specify the source of income against which tax assessments are raised under s.319 POCA. These are challenging situations for any person to have to respond to, all the more so where the burden is on the taxpayer to disprove allegations implying criminality, rather than on the state to prove its case
Members of chambers also act in appeals to the tribunal against assessments of indirect taxation; duty and VAT.