What is the law on tax evasion?


Often confused with tax avoidance, tax evasion is the use of illegal techniques to reduce the tax that you have to pay on earnings.

If you are using certain techniques to reduce the amount of tax you pay, and are not sure whether these techniques are legitimate tax avoidance, you should contact a specialist solicitor with tax experience as soon as possible.


All tax affairs are handled by HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) and they set out the tools you can use to legally reduce your tax bill.

However, if you do any of the following, you could find that HMRC will take you to court to recover the tax they think you have not paid:

  • Fail to report all your income
  • Use deductions that are not legitimate to increase your expenses
  • Claim false donations to charities
  • Falsify your tax return in any other way

If you find yourself in this situation the help and support of a specialist solicitor will be essential.


Serious tax evasion will also sometimes be defined as fraud, and in extreme cases as money laundering. In these cases the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 and the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 would come into play.

The level of any tax evasion you are being accused of will usually determine how the authorities react. If you have simply been making false expenses claims against your self-assessment tax, it’s likely that HMRC would just fine you. However, if your alleged tax evasion is serious, you may be taken to court.

For more information on tax fraud, visit our information page.

The tax system in the UK is highly complex. Your solicitor can help you ensure you receive a fair hearing with your case, especially if you are claiming that you have not evaded any tax. Call us on 0800 1777 162 or fill in the web-form opposite.

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