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Christopher Lunn found guilty of tax fraud: but no jail-time

December 18th, 2014

The long-running and very high-profile HMRC criminal tax investigation into the accountant Christopher Lunn came to a head today – when he was convicted of six offences under the Fraud Act at Southwark Crown Court.  But HMRC must be extremely disappointed that he will not have to spend any time in prison; despite the massive amount of resources and publicity that they have given to the case.

Christopher Lunn of Tunbridge Wells, aged 41, was not a qualified accountant or tax adviser, but he ran a firm called Christopher Lunn & Co in Sussex: employing a large number of professionally qualified staff.  The firm specialised in clients involved in the media industry (of which they had several thousand): including many high profile names.  Following a tax investigation by HM Revenue and Customs the firm was raided by the HMRC Criminal Investigation Unit.  Consequently and controversially (and despite well-publicised public protestations from his solicitors, Pinsent Mason) HMRC removed agent status from Christopher Lunn & Company in 2011: meaning that the firm was no longer able to submit tax returns on behalf of its clients.

In the meantime, HMRC launched its “Operation Edgewood,” a large-scale disclosure and investigation programme aimed at all of Christopher Lunn & Co’s clients.

Lunn’s clients were given one genuine low-cost bill for accountancy services (which are tax deductible) but then he also created false invoices for HMRC showing inflated figures; so that clients then paid less tax than they ought to have done.  Often the fees were inflated so much (e.g. by thousands of pounds) that the fraudulent tax “saving” covered the actual cost of Lunn’s services.

Lunn was also convicted of lying to the taxman about a client’s source of income.  He’d claimed she was running a limited company, rather than being a sole trader, in order to take advantage of the lower Corporation Tax rate.

The judge said Lunn was guilty of “shameless and bare-faced dishonesty” and sentenced him to 9 months imprisonment on each count: but then suspended the sentence for 12 months; meaning that Lunn does not need to go to prison.  Lunn was also ordered to carry out 250 hours unpaid work.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations.  If you are worried about a tax enquiry we can advise you on the best course of action.  If appropriate, we can help you manage any necessary disclosures.  If you are facing criminal charges we can help you obtain first class legal representation, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Voluntary Tax Disclosure Campaign For Solicitors

December 17th, 2014

In the latest of this series of voluntary tax disclosure campaigns HM Revenue and Customs have now targeted solicitors.  Any solicitors who have undeclared taxable income or gains can use the campaign in order to avoid prosecution and take advantage of favourable penalty terms.

HMRC have a rolling series of tax disclosure campaigns.  However, this latest campaign is a remarkable step for HMRC.  Previously the taxman has taken the view that members of the legal profession who have deliberately underpaid tax fall into the so-called “heinous” category: and were automatically considered for prosecution.  In this particular instance, HMRC are taking the unprecedented step of allowing solicitors, who have committed tax evasion, to put their tax affairs in order without the risk of criminal sanctions.

HMRC’s Head of Campaigns said: “Information gathered by HMRC has allowed us to identify solicitors who thought they could operate without declaring income and paying the taxes that others have to pay”.  Solicitors have until 9 March 2015 register for the campaign, and then until 9 June 2015 to disclose their irregularities and pay the tax, interest and penalties.

HMRC warn that: “Those who make a deliberate decision not to pay the taxes due could face a criminal prosecution.”

What does it mean for me?
If you are a solicitor and have historic tax irregularities, then this could represent a superb opportunity to put your affairs in order.  Whilst the campaign process can be straightforward there are particular issues for solicitors to consider, and you may wish to consider taking specialist advice: much as your clients take specialist advice from you.

How can Lynam Tax Disclosure Experts help me?
Lynam Tax disclosure specialists have a vast amount of practical experience in managing tax disclosures: including through the various Campaigns and also the Offshore Disclosure Facilities. We can advise you on the best course of action and if appropriate, help you manage any necessary disclosures, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call Paul Lynam today on 0845 643 9997

or Andrew Nutbrown on 07718 778710

Handyman Tax Ghost Busted

December 16th, 2014

A Norfolk handyman, who hadn’t paid any tax for 20 years, was jailed for 3 years at Norwich Crown Court today.

Tax inspectors found that 63 year old Richard Green from Great Yarmouth was offering his services as a general handyman: but could not find any trace of him in their records.  In the following tax investigation Green admitted that he had been self-employed since before 1992 – but had never registered with HM Revenue and Customs or paid any income tax or National Insurance Contributions.  He then claimed his earnings were around £15-25,000 a year.  But the tax investigators checked his bank records and discovered that his income for 2007/08 alone was almost £70,000.  The tax officers estimated he had underpaid about £170,000 in taxes.

Green was charged with Cheating the Public Revenue.  After pleading guilty he has now been sentenced to 3 years imprisonment.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations.  If you are worried about a tax enquiry we can advise you on the best course of action.  If appropriate, we can help you manage any necessary disclosures.  If you are facing criminal charges we can help you obtain first class legal representation, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Fiddling Notts Beautician Spared Jail

December 15th, 2014

A beautician from Nottinghamshire cheated the taxman out of more than £30,000 – by lying about her income was found guilty and sentenced last week:  but managed to avoid going to prison.

Rebecca Eddishaw, a 30 year old beautician and mother-of-one from Farnsfield, under-declared her income from renting out two properties for 4 years, in order to get away without paying £13,797 in tax.  This also involved her in a false tax credits claim.  Between 2009 and 2013 she wrongly claimed a higher rate of tax credit: getting an undeserved £16,941.

Eddishaw was charged at Nottingham Magistrates Court with 3 offences:

  • Knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of income tax by failing to declare rental income in tax returns to HMRC;
  • Knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity undertaken with a view to obtain payment of Tax Credit by failing to declare rental income;
  • Knowingly concerned in fraudulent activity undertaken with a view to obtain payment of Tax Credit by failing to declare a change in circumstances

She was found guilty of all charges but was then given a light ticking off: her 18-month prison sentence was suspended for 18 months (meaning she doesn’t have to serve any time in prison) and she also has to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations.  If you are worried about a tax enquiry we can advise you on the best course of action.  If appropriate, we can help you manage any necessary disclosures.  If you are facing criminal charges we can help you obtain first class legal representation, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Taxman pays snitches £400K

November 25th, 2014

Last year over 90,000 contacted the taxman with tipoffs about alleged tax evasion.  And some of these informers were paid out of HMRC’s special slush fund: with the total amount paid out being over £400,000: according to a report by Kyle Caldwell, and Dan Hyde in The Daily Telegraph.

Most of the would-be informants are telephoning HMRC’s hotline: at the rate of 250 people per day!  But only a very small percentage of these receive payments: which usually range from £50 – £1,000.  It’s generally believed that the most informants are acting maliciously, and provide very poor quality, or false, information. However, HMRC clearly believe they get a lot of valuable tip-offs, as the amount they’ve paid out has gone up by more than 30% since the previous year.

How can Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts help me?
If you are undergoing a tax investigation or a compliance check then specialist help from Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts could save your blushes and your business.  Plus, our massive experience will almost certainly save you tax and penalties as well.

*For a free, confidential chat about your tax affairs, don’t delay, call Paul Lynam now on 0845 643 9997
or Andrew Nutbrown on 07718 778710

Tax Dodging Cop Doc Dodges Jail

November 18th, 2014

A doctor who did forensic medical examinations for the Metropolitan Police and fiddled over £300,000 of tax, was found guilty of tax fraud this week -  but got away with a slap on the wrist at Isleworth Crown Court this week.

For over 11 years, Dr Khaled Yasin, aged 64 of Pickering House, Windmill Road, Ealing, under-declared £650,000 of his income from the Met., where he worked as a Forensic Medical Examiner. He evaded £300,000 of taxes and now also owes £50,000 in interest.

His massive tax evasion was uncovered by the tax inspectors when they examined information they had gathered as part of their HMRC Tax Health Plan Disclosure Campaign.  If he had come forward and made a voluntary disclosure when was campaign running he would not have been prosecuted.  On the other hand, he would have had to pay financial penalties: which he will now avoid as he has received a criminal record instead.

He was found guilty of 8 charges of Cheating the Public Revenue contrary to Common Law; and was given a 2 year suspended sentence and was ordered to do 200 hours of community work.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations.  If you are worried about a tax enquiry we can advise you on the best course of action.  If appropriate, we can help you manage any necessary disclosures.  If you are facing criminal charges we can help you obtain first class legal representation, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Ghost Goes To Jail

November 13th, 2014

Scott Paul Petrie registered with HMRC as self-employed, and he ran a business trading in aggregates and clearing rubbish: but he had never sent in a tax return or VAT return.  The HMRC’s Hidden Economy Team (“The Ghostbusters”) found him, and now he’s going to jail.

Petrie, aged 50 from Hertford, was challenged by the taxman’s ghostbuster team.  At first he said his cash sales for 2003-2011 were about £137,000.  The tax investigators used his bank statements to estimate that his income 2005 was over £589,000: on which he should have paid about £194,000 in Tax, National Insurance, and VAT.

He was charged with the fraudulent evasion of Income Tax, National Insurance, and VAT: and he was sentenced to 21 months in prison when he appeared at Luton Crown Court on 6 November.  A confiscation hearing to recover the proceeds of crime will follow.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations.  If you are worried about a tax enquiry we can advise you on the best course of action.  If appropriate, we can help you manage any necessary disclosures.  If you are facing criminal charges we can help you obtain first class legal representation, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

85 Countries Sign OECD Pact to Share Bank Data

November 6th, 2014

51 countries pledged to automatically swap bank data and tax information at an OECD conference in Berlin last week, as part of the recent coordinated global efforts to clamp down on tax fraud; particularly by those using offshore bank accounts to hide their wealth.

There are 51 “early adopters”: jurisdictions which will obtain and share details on bank accounts from 2017; including: the UK, most EU countries, Jersey, Guernsey, the Isle of Man, Bermuda, the Cayman Islands, Liechtenstein, Mexico and South Korea.   An additional 34 countries have promised to join in after 2018; including Switzerland, Hong Kong, Monaco and Russia.

German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble said that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development agreement meant that “banking secrecy has had its day.”

What does this mean for me?
If you are a UK tax payer with undeclared historic tax irregularities, and an offshore bank account, then it is increasingly certain that detailed information on that account will be passed to HMRC in the next few years.  The tax authority would then carry out an investigation: possibly with a view to a criminal prosecution.  There are still opportunities under the current offshore tax amnesties to make disclosures on favourable terms.  Most beneficial of these is the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility.  This doesn’t require any prior link to the principality, but the deadline for registering does expire in 2016.

How can Lynam Tax Disclosure Experts help me?

Our Tax Disclosure Specialists have a huge amount of experience in dealing with voluntary disclosures in respect of UK residents with offshore bank accounts. We have the training, knowledge, skills and deep experience to manage your offshore disclosure to HMRC.  We can reduce the stress and get the best solution for you.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Voluntary Disclosure Campaign for Businesses Taking Card Payments

October 23rd, 2014

The latest Campaign in HMRC’s ongoing targeted voluntary tax disclosure programme is open to businesses that accept credit or debit card payments – but have not included all the transactions in their accounts or tax returns.

The taxman is warning that it “has details of all credit and debit card payments to UK businesses” and that information will be “used to identify individuals and businesses that might not have paid what they owe”.

HM Revenue & Customs’ Campaigns are targeted voluntary tax disclosure opportunities aimed at specific groups of taxpayers.  During the Campaign taxpayers in the target group can make a full disclosure of under-declared profits using a simplified method, and get the lowest possible penalties.  In this latest Campaign, businesses that accept credit card or debit card payments but have not included all those sales in their accounts – can come forward and put their tax affairs straight – before HMRC comes to them.  HMRC caution that:  “You could face higher penalties or criminal prosecution if you don’t make a voluntary disclosure now and HMRC finds out that you’ve failed to declare all your income”.

How can Lynam Tax Disclosure Experts help me?

Lynam Tax partners have a vast amount of practical experience in managing tax disclosures: including through the various Campaigns and also the Offshore Disclosure Facilities.    We can advise you on the best course of action and if appropriate, help you manage any necessary disclosures, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call Paul Lynam today on 0845 643 9997

or Andrew Nutbrown on 07718 778710

Cheating Lying Lawyer Jailed

October 22nd, 2014

A tax dodging barrister has felt the full force of the law: getting a 3 year prison term for Cheating the Public Revenue; plus 6 months for perjury.

A barrister from Henley-on-Thames, Michael Roberts aged 58, left chambers in 2007 and set up as a self-employed legal professional specialising in insolvency cases and company law.   Within a year he was declared bankrupt, owing the taxman more than £700K tax.  The majority of that debt was never paid.  Despite the bankruptcy he carried on trading – but did not declare his earnings or pay tax, even though he was issuing invoices and charging his clients VAT using an old registration number.  Roberts was arrested in July 2012 and later charged with Common Cheat, as well as perjury, including falsely denying he had traded after his Bankruptcy Order.  He was sentenced at Reading Crown Court on 17 October 2014.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations.  If you are worried about a tax enquiry we can advise you on the best course of action.  If appropriate, we can help you manage any necessary disclosures.  If you are facing criminal charges we can help you obtain first class legal representation, in order to obtain the optimum outcome for you, your business and your family.

*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

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