The nightmare before Christmas – don’t drunk tweet HMRC

Hillier Hopkins LLP

Chartered Accountants & Tax Advisers

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Christmas celebrations are ramping up and whilst HMRC is no party pooper it takes its job of collecting tax revenues seriously. A drunken tweet, text or even registering yourself for VAT ‘for a laugh’ will come back to haunt you.


Drunken boasts to HMRC

The morning after the night before can often leave you blushing as embarrassing stories and exploits are part-remembered. But a drunken boast to HMRC by text, email or social media about how successful you are at avoiding tax is likely to leave you reaching for more than a paracetamol.


HMRC takes information it receives on tax avoidance very seriously, so a drunken outburst on email or social media to HMRC could result in a tax investigation spanning multiple years of financial records in addition to potential bills and fines.


Don’t register yourself for VAT ‘for a laugh’

This might sound so obvious to most of us that it should not need mentioning. But don’t, however funny it might seem at the time, register yourself for VAT. This has happened before. HMRC will expect to see VAT returns and, in their absence, will estimate taxes due. You could suddenly find yourself with VAT demands. HMRC will assume the registration is entirely legitimate as many sole traders are VAT registered, it’s possible to de-register and have the VAT returns erased, but it takes time. And HMRC does not always look on such behaviour so kindly.


HMRC help for those in trouble

Whilst HMRC may not see the funny side of boastful or drunken emails, it does recognise the financial challenges individuals face as the cost of living crisis deepens.


There are dedicated teams on hand to help those that are struggling whether through sickness, mental health issues, experiencing financial hardship, 3or the victim of financial or domestic abuse. Support is available, but they will expect to see any claims supported by evidence.

Enjoy the festive season and should you need any advice and support with tax, VAT or dealing with HMRC, please contact us.

Do you need extra information?

Graeme Fox - Tax Manager at Hillier Hopkins

Graeme has worked in both the accounting and tax sectors for over 15 years and has a particular focus on the issues affecting owner manager businesses. He has developed a close working relationship with his clients to see them continue to grow and prosper.

Contact Graeme at or on +44 (0)1923 634 243