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Supply Chain VAT Fraud | The Kittel Principle

Published: Tuesday, July 9, 2024

HMRC continues to face the persistent issue of ‘Supply Chain VAT Fraud’ and the task of reclaiming unpaid VAT. This type of fraud is particularly prevalent in sectors such as the construction industry. In a previous article, ‘Umbrella Company Fraud,’ we explored how this fraud operates through the creation of fictitious supply chain companies within the Payroll Management Industry.

Although HMRC must prove fraudulent conduct,  it is supported by the Kittel Principle which states that if a taxable trader, at the time of purchase, knew or should have known that they were involved in a transaction linked to the fraudulent evasion of VAT, they must be considered a participant in the fraud. 

In this situation, the taxable trader is assisting the perpetrators of VAT fraud, effectively becoming an accomplice. KANGS has defended many clients who unknowingly became part of trading chains deemed fraudulent and subsequently received VAT Assessment Notices under the Kittel principle.

Knew or Should Have Known

Under Kittel, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) did not define ‘knew or should have known’ but it was confirmed to be an objective test.

HMRC will consider all trading factors considered ‘suspicious or dubious’ leading to the only reasonable explanation for the nature of the transactions that they were connected with fraudulent evasion of VAT.

Who can help?

If you involved in, or anticipate, a dispute with HMRC, it is essential you seek expert advice and guidance. KANGS provides a wealth of experience gained from assisting clients involved with tax issues of every nature and will be pleased to hear from you.

Our Team will support you throughout the entirety of any HMRC investigation or proceedings, seeking to achieve the most satisfactory outcome available as quickly and economically as possible.

If we can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact our Team using the details below:

Tel: 0333 370 4333

Hamraj Kang
Kangs Solicitors
England, UK
Practice Area:
Criminal Fraud
Phone Number:
020 7936 6396
Hamraj acts for corporate and individual clients in investigations brought by the major UK law enforcement agencies including the SFO, HMRC, FCA, NCA, CMA, CPS, BEIS, ICO, Trading Standards and a wide range of regulatory bodies. He has particular expertise in HMRC investigations and prosecutions including MTIC & VAT fraud, money laundering, tax & duty evasion and regularly conducts cases throughout the country. There are few solicitors nationally who can match Hamraj’s experience of complex multi-million pounds MTIC and VAT fraud cases as he acted in many such cases in his career. He has considerable expertise in the areas of money laundering, bribery & corruption and insider dealing, having been instructed by a number of PLCs and senior company executives on such matters. The work is often complex, multi-jurisdictional and necessitates overseas travel which has led to Hamraj working in numerous overseas jurisdictions. Hamraj advises corporate and individual clients both during and in the immediate aftermath of a dawn raid when quick, effective and incisive advice is required to protect the legal rights and reputation of the client. He has considerable experience of representing clients in interviews with all the leading law enforcement agencies including the SFO, HMRC and the NCA. He is admired for his novel tactical thinking and possesses a proven track record of guiding clients to a successful conclusion in many difficult and demanding cases. As a result of working on high profile and complex fraud cases, Hamraj’s client base is both national and international ranging from publicly listed companies to individual clients. Due to his expertise and experience in international financial crime investigations, Hamraj is also instructed in complex extradition cases often with a financial crime background involving allegations such as money laundering, wire fraud, bribery and corruption. He accepts instructions involving all jurisdictions but most notably the USA, Russia, CIS countries, India, Pakistan, Africa, the Caribbean, South America and the Far East. Civil Fraud & Asset Recovery In addition to criminal fraud, Hamraj advises in relation to civil fraud matters acting for both claimants and defendants. His clients range from large corporations to private individuals with the work often including early action and interim reliefs.  The areas of work include: Cryptocurrency disputes The conduct of internal investigations on behalf of corporate clients Obtaining and responding to freezing orders Obtaining and responding to search orders Norwich Pharmacal orders Receivership orders The civil fraud and asset recovery High Court litigation for claimants and defendants includes allegations of fraudulent misrepresentation, breach of fiduciary and directors’ duties, unjust enrichment, unlawful means conspiracy, bribery, deceit, carousel/MTIC fraud, boiler room fraud and bogus investment schemes. Civil Recovery | POCA Hamraj is recognised by Chambers UK as a leading lawyer in the area of proceeds of crime and asset forfeiture, being one of only six solicitors ranked in Band 1 in the country. His work includes civil recovery proceedings under Part 5 of POCA such as Property Freezing Orders, Civil Recovery Orders and Account Freezing Orders. Hamraj is also able to advise in relation to Interim Freezing Orders and Unexplained Wealth Orders. HMRC Tax Investigations | Tax Tribunals There is often a considerable overlap between criminal and civil fraud proceedings and HMRC civil tax investigations. Hamraj regularly advises both corporate and individual clients in relation to HMRC civil tax investigations, VAT Assessments including Kittel Assessments as well as COP8 & COP9 investigations. The work includes representation before the First-tier Tax Tribunal and the Upper Tribunal in relation to VAT Assessments, Kittel VAT Notices, Direct Tax Appeals, Personal Liability Notices, Condemnation Proceedings and Excise Duty matters. Disciplinary | Regulatory | Sports Work Hamraj has represented a number of professionals facing criminal and regulatory allegations including accountants and other financial professionals, solicitors, doctors, dentists and pharmacists. He has developed an excellent understanding of the regulatory framework and codes of professional conduct governing the professions. In recent years, Hamraj has successfully represented a number of solicitors in serious criminal fraud prosecutions and achieved their acquittal which has resulted in a successful outcome in associated SRA disciplinary proceedings. Hamraj has represented many individuals from the sporting world (mainly football, cricket, horse racing and boxing) and is regularly instructed by a number of Premier League and Championship Football Clubs. Serious Criminal Work Hamraj also undertakes serious criminal work such as historic sexual allegations, murder, corporate manslaughter, drugs offences and serious driving offences, having acted in many high-profile cases of this nature. Clients include football clubs, members of the professions, company executives and public figures from the world of entertainment, politics, media and sport. Hamraj places the issues of confidentiality, privacy and reputation management at the forefront of his strategy when conducting cases. Matters are dealt with the utmost sensitivity and complete discretion. He always adopts a strong and proactive approach to investigations with the overriding objective to bring each matter to a successful and swift conclusion, and where possible, to avoid court proceedings and any adverse publicity for his client.

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