Can HMRC listen to your phone calls and look at itemised phone records?
My brother told me that HMRC can listen to phone calls and use the information to seek other evidence in the case of general tax evasion. He said HMRC went all the way to the House Of Lords trying to get permission to use the information as evidence in court or at tribunal, but were told no. He said that they were told they could benefit from the data/evidence in enquiry only, but had to be satisfied with using it to work out what further investigation was needed to get evidence that they could use in court. I thought he was being conspiracyish and that interception is reserved for serious crime investigations.
Up until this weekend I believed that HMRC could ask a taxpayer to produce their own itemised phone bills, if they made business calls from a mobile or land line, and only if the calls formed part of their tax return.
For itemised bills to be intercepted/applied for and recieved by HMRC/or for calls to be listened to I thought a person would need to be committing carousel fraud, gun smuggling, cigarette smuggling, I have googled quickly and found articles that say interception of phone calls, emails and post can be used by HMRC in the case of suspected crime. All evasion is a crime but is usually dealt with under a civil investigation. So where does the actual practise lie and is he right about any of it please?
I have not evaded any taxes myself. I have come across people that appear to and always tell them that if they are doing it, they should absolutely stop. It is my understanding that it is virtually impossible not to leave an auditable trail if you spend any unofficial cash. I am still not sure if that is true.