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Swingeing Penalties for Uncooperative Barrister

April 23rd, 2015

A barrister failed to supply the taxman with all the information and documents demanded by a formal notice: and ended up having to pay penalties (on top of the tax due) of over £1 million!

Romie Tager, a barrister, had submitted his own tax returns and an Inheritance Tax return (following his father’s death) to HMRC.  The tax inspectors were not happy that the returns were correct and complete.  So they issued him with formal Information Notices in order to obtain further facts.  Mr Tager only partially complied with the formal Notices: despite being given numerous opportunities to do so.  HMRC’s patience finally ran out, and the tax officers eventually deployed a little used penalty power – allowing them to charge penalties of up to 100% of the tax in respect of a failure to supply the relevant items.  Of course, he will still have to pay the tax, plus interest, due in respect of those tax returns.  In his instance the penalties alone were over £1 million!

Mr Tager appealed against the notices to the Tax Tribunal.  The Tribunal upheld the penalties in full.  The Tribunal Judge said he had found it virtually “impossible” to understand why Tager had not appointed a tax adviser to deal with these issues for him.

Lynam Tax specialise in dealing with HMRC and are experts in the application of the Information Notices rules.  If you need advice and help in a difficult Tax Enquiry call:

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Managing Deliberate Defaulters

April 20th, 2015

The taxman’s Managing Deliberate Defaulters programme, (MDD) is a method for HMRC to keep a close ‘watching brief’ on known tax evaders for up to 5 years following the closing of a tax investigation.

The key features of the MDD are:

  • A defaulter is someone who deliberately pays the wrong amount of tax. Usually that will be someone who has incurred a tax-geared penalty for behaviour which falls in the ‘deliberate’ or ‘deliberate with concealment’ categories or were identified as deliberate evaders via criminal or Contractual Disclosure Facility proceedings, or via one of HMRC’s Tax Amnesty incentivised disclosure campaigns.
  • Defaulters can be individuals, partnerships or companies.
  • The taxman will decide who goes into the MDD programme.
  • Taxpayers who made a full disclosure and got the maximum penalty reduction will not be put on the programme.
  • HMRC will tell taxpayers if they are subject to the Managing Deliberate Defaulters programme and will explain what is required of them.
  • A defaulter will be monitored for between two and five years.
  • Defaulters will come out of the programme once HMRC is satisfied that they are meeting their oblations and are no longer a high risk.
  • The degree of monitoring will depend on the gravity and nature of the original offence.
  • HMRC will monitor whether the taxpayer keeps their tax returns, payments, etc up to date.
  • The taxman will check returns to see if they are accurate and to see that any errors or failings have been put right.
  • Tax compliance officers may carry out further monitoring, e.g. making inspection visits (which might be unannounced), requesting further documentation to support returns, conducting in-depth compliance checks or checking with third parties (e.g. supplies or customers).
  • Businesses in the MDD must provide full accounts (i.e. not three-line ones or the short version of the Self-employed pages) with their tax returns.
  • There is no minimum figure of tax evaded for the taxpayer to be included in MDD.
  • There is a £5,000 lower threshold for being asked to providing additional information alongside the return.
  • Monitoring will extend across all the defaulter’s activities, not just the area where the evasion occurred. E.g. A builder who under declared rental income could have his Construction Industry Scheme records checked.
  • If defaulters try to escape scrutiny by closing a business and starting a new one, HMRC can monitor the new business and/or the individuals who controlled the old one.
  • If the taxpayer fails to meet the required standards, HMRC may use its formal powers to investigate, and could start criminal proceedings.
  • There is no right of appeal against inclusion in MDD although the taxpayer can discuss it with the taxman or make a formal complaint.
  • MDD can be used in addition to the power which HMRC has to publish details of deliberate defaulters where the tax lost is £25,000 or more (i.e. Naming and Shaming).

How can Lynam Tax Enquiry Specialists 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 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Decorator’s Book-keeping Wife Found Guilty

April 2nd, 2015

The wife of a Margate-based decorator caught fiddling the business books in order to allow her husband to over-claim business expenses; was found guilty of tax fraud and sentenced this week.  Plus, she’s been ordered to repay £18,706 to HMRC.

Amanda Tillings, aged 48, was responsible for looking after the books of her husband’s painting and decorating business, and for submitting his tax returns.  Between 2010 and 2014 she tried to claim nearly £19,000 worth of tax repayments which weren’t due – by putting personal expenditure through the business books.   When HM Revenue & Customs tax investigators examined the books they discovered non-allowable expenditure including: personal vet’s bills; family food shopping; a car for her daughter; a personalised number plate; ladies’ shoes; and even the cost of a bereavement notice in the local paper for her late father-in-law.

She pleaded guilty to the tax fraud offence at Canterbury Crown Court and was sentenced to 12 months in prison (suspended for 2 years); ordered to do 200 hours community work; and repay £18,706.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
We have decades of extensive practical experience in managing tax disclosures and tax fraud investigations.  If you have irregularities in your tax affairs we can advise you on your best course of action.  If appropriate, we will help you with any disclosure.  If you are already under criminal investigation we can assist in the preparation of the defence case.  We can help get the best possible 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

Tax Dodging Preacher Convicted

March 27th, 2015

A self-employed pastor, who had not registered with HMRC, and then declined the opportunity to settle his affairs on a civil basis, using Code Of Practice 9 was sentenced at the Old Bailey this week for “Cheating the Public Revenue.”

Jerome Uba Anekwe, aged 42 from Kings Langley in Hertfordshire preached at the El-Shaddai Christian Centre, Golders Green, London, from 2004 to 2009 but he never registered with HM Revenue and Customs as self-employed, and didn’t declare any of his £238,000 earnings, thus evading Income Tax of £72,000.

When HMRC discovered this, they gave him the opportunity to clear matters up on civil lines: that is by paying the tax, interest and penalties rather than facing a prosecution.  They issued him with COP9 (“Investigations where we suspect tax fraud”).  But he declined the offer to make a full disclosure: leaving HMRC with little choice but to prosecute him.

HMRC’s Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation said: “This sends a clear message that we will try and give people a chance to put their affairs in order, but if they refuse to we will take firm action”.

Anekwe pleaded guilty to Cheating the Public Revenue and was sentenced to: 2 years imprisonment (suspended for two years); ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work; and pay costs of £2,500.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
We have decades of extensive practical experience in managing tax disclosures and tax fraud investigations.  If you have irregularities in your tax affairs we can advise you on your best course of action.  If appropriate, we will help you with any disclosure.  If you are already under criminal investigation we can assist in the preparation of the defence case.  We can help get the best possible 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

Tax Dodging Double-glazing Salesman Sentenced

March 24th, 2015

An HMRC Taskforce, looking at people getting commission from double glazing firms, unearthed a Leeds based salesman who hadn’t declared his earnings to HMRC for 6 years: leading to his prosecution, conviction and sentencing at Leeds Crown Court on 24 March.

Adam Barraclough, aged 29 from Morley West Yorkshire, signed a self-employed salesman agreement with Safestyle UK in 2007.  Since then he earned £288,000.  But he never told HM Revenue and Customs about his business: and so for six years he didn’t pay any income tax or National Insurance contributions: leading to a loss to the Exchequer of £73,000.

HMRC had set up a Tax Taskforce to look at people getting commission from double-glazing firms.  HMRC Taskforces are specialist teams carrying out intensive bursts of tax compliance activity in specific trade sectors and locations across the UK.  Then each new target of a task force is publicised.  However, despite the publicity Barraclough still did not step forward to put his affairs in order whilst he had the opportunity.  HMRC obtained Barraclough’s details and checked them against HMRC’s own records: discovering in 2014 that he was a “ghost”.  He was arrested and charged, and subsequently pleading guilty to being “knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of Income Tax.

HMRC’s Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, said: “HMRC is committed to unearthing individuals who do not pay their taxes, and we will prosecute those who offend.”
On 24 March he was sentenced to 16 months imprisonment (suspended for 2 years); and ordered to perform 240 hours of unpaid work.  So far Barraclough has repaid £26,593.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
We have decades of extensive practical experience in managing tax disclosures and tax fraud investigations.  If you have irregularities in your tax affairs we can advise you on your best course of action.  If appropriate, we will help you with any disclosure.  If you are already under criminal investigation we can assist in the preparation of the defence case.  We can help get the best possible 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

Hull Fast Food Tax Fiddle Family Found Guilty

February 24th, 2015

The owners of 2 Hull Sandwich bars have been given prison sentences: after being found guilty of long-running million pound tax frauds.

Amy Louise Baker, aged 27, had been running “Amy’s Sandwich Bar”, since 2006.  In 2012 HM Revenue and Customs tax inspectors realised she had never paid any tax for that business.  They launched a criminal investigation and, whilst searching her business premises, the tax investigators found records belonging to a second business - “John’s Sandwich Bar” – which had been operated by her father John Richard Baker (aged 62) and his partner (Tracey Walmsley – aged 50) since 1995: and which had also never paid any tax.

An HMRC Assistant Director in the Criminal Investigation Unit said “They lived a very comfortable lifestyle, driving performance cars and regularly travelling abroad on holiday”.

All 3 of them pleaded guilty to Cheating the Public Revenue of Income Tax, National Insurance and VAT.  They were sentenced at Hull Crown Court this week.  John Baker was jailed for two years.  But Amy Baker and Tracey Walmsley found out that crime can pay: as both simply got suspended sentences -  Amy 6 months and Tracey 15 months.  Both have to also perform 250 hours unpaid work.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
We have decades of extensive practical experience in managing tax disclosures and tax fraud investigations.  If you have irregularities in your tax affairs we can advise you on your best course of action.  If appropriate, we will help you with any disclosure.  If you are already under criminal investigation we can assist in the preparation of the defence case.  We can help get the best possible 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

Leicestershire Ex-Beak On Receiving End Of Jail Sentence

February 2nd, 2015

Zaher Somani, an ex-magistrate of Quorn in Leicestershire, got to experience the other side of the bench the hard way – when he was sentenced to prison for a £250,000 tax fraud – at Nottingham Crown Court on 30 January 2015: along with his co-accused, his wife Ashraf, his brother and sister-in-law Pyarali and Shabina Somani, and an employee Darren Green.

Zaher Somani, aged 58, ran 2 Loughborough taxi companies: A1 Taxis and Charnwood Taxis: operating 30 minicabs between them.  At the time of his arrest he was also serving as a magistrate in Leicestershire.  HMRC tax investigators discovered that Zaher Somani was not declaring the full income of the business, and that family members were hiding money for him in bank accounts and assets in Jersey; Canada; India; Turkey and Morocco. The family shared the £250,000 evaded tax: spending huge sums on property, private schooling and gambling.  His false declaration of his income was so low that his wife Ashraf claimed Tax Credits, whilst he gambled millions and acquired an extensive property portfolio.

Pyarali Somani and his wife Shabina committed income tax fraud and Tax Credits fraud totalling of over £60,000.  Darren Green, the businesses’ officer manager (aged 44, from Leicester) admitted fiddling his own tax and credits of £11,229, and complicity in Zaher Somani’s £250,000 tax evasion.

Zaher Somani was jailed for three-and-a-half years.  Ashraf Somani, aged 43, and Pyarali Somani (aged 61, of Loughborough) were both to sentenced to 15 months imprisonment, and Shabina Somani (aged 50) was sentenced to six months in prison: but all 3 sentences were suspended for 18 months; plus all 3 have to carry out 300 hours of unpaid work, and were put on 7pm-7am curfews for three months.  Green was given a 10 month suspended sentence, a nine month supervision order, and a three month 7pm-7am curfew.

HMRC have started Proceeds of Crime Act Confiscation Proceedings in an attempt to recover the fiddled money.

How Can Lynam Tax Investigation Experts Help Me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts are vastly experienced in the practical art of successfully helping clients undergoing 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.

NB: we are often instructed to assist by the defending solicitors.  In the last three criminal cases we were involved in, our work led directly to HMRC agreeing to drop the prosecutions – without the case reaching court.

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

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Jail for Tax Fiddling Derby Accountant

January 7th, 2015

A Derby based accountant was jailed for 16 months yesterday at Nottingham Crown Court, after being found guilty of 7 counts of tax fraud.

Stephen Jeff Douce, aged 59 from Sunnyhill in Derby is the co-director of ACA Accountancy Services Ltd.   A tax investigation produced evidence that for around 5 years he was: charging clients VAT whilst failing to pay it over to HMRC; understating his income for tax and NIC purposes; and then also falsely claiming tax credits.  From 2008-2013 he pocketed £31,800 of VAT.   He falsified tax returns for himself and his wife, leading to evaded Income Tax and National Insurance contributions of nearly £20,000.  He then alleged that his total annual household income (including his wife’s) was only £4,500, when it was actually over £56,000; leading to false tax credit claims of over £14,000.

In court the taxman produced evidence from various ACA Accountancy Services Ltd clients showing that between April 2008 and January 2014, Douce had provided and invoiced services totalling £192,000, including VAT of £32,000.  Douce sent HMRC “nil” VAT returns and kept the VAT for himself.

He pleaded guilty to 7 tax fraud and tax credit offences.  He was jailed for 16 months. HM Revenue and Customs say they have commenced Proceeds of Crime Confiscation proceedings to recover over £65,000.

What does this mean for me?
This case shows that even professionals get their tax returns risk-reviewed by HMRC:  which is becoming increasingly sophisticated in the techniques it uses to select likely tax fraudsters.  And it shows that HMRC will not hesitate to use their full powers of investigation, including making third-party visits to suppliers and customers.  HMRC has increased massively the number of cases it is investigating on criminal, rather than on civil lines.  Any professionals successfully prosecuted are likely to face a custodial sentence.  However, there are methods available to make voluntary disclosures of tax irregularities in ways that can eliminate the risk of prosecution, as well as greatly reducing the civil penalties.

How Could Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help Me?
We have decades of extensive practical experience in managing tax disclosures and tax fraud investigations.  If you have irregularities in your tax affairs we can advise you on your best course of action.  If appropriate, we will help you with any disclosure.  If you are already under criminal investigation we can assist in the preparation of the defence case.  We can help get the best possible 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

Horsebox Owners Targeted by Taxman?

January 6th, 2015

HMRC are carrying out systematic tax enquiries into the owners of horseboxes, according to a report in today’s Accountancy Age by Calum Fuller.

Apparently there is evidence of a spate of enquiry letters from HM Revenue & Customs being sent to owners of horseboxes.  HMRC suspect that people are claiming the purchase and running costs of horseboxes as a business expense: without making the appropriate tax adjustments for private use or declaring benefits in kind.  Of course, businesses will often sponsor show-jumping and horse racing, and in particular horseboxes, in order to market their businesses.  However, the tax inspectors often suspect that the motive for the expenditure is more related to private hobbies and interests rather than being part of strictly commercial arrangements.

Top end horseboxes can costing up to £500,000.  Some businesses sponsor several vehicles.  Aside from the high running costs, significant capital allowances are often generated when horseboxes are sold; which can happen every few years.

Top 50 firm UHY Hacker Young believes HMRC suspects some farmers and rural business owners of buying horseboxes through their company, either falsely claiming the cost as a business expense for tax purposes, or failing to declare personal use of the horsebox and paying tax on it as a “benefit in kind”.

What does this mean for me?
Where errors are found in the tax reporting, HMRC will frequently allege that this is a result of failure to take sufficient care.  In those instances, HMRC can collect tax going back six years, and charge interest and penalties.  If HMRC believed that the errors are deliberate then they can go back 20 years and charge higher penalties still.  The amounts involved can be significant.  If you receive an HMRC enquiry into a horsebox issue you may want to take specialist advice.

How Can Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts Help?

The Lynam Tax Enquiry Specialists have over 67 years of full time experience of dealing with HMRC tax investigations.  We have satisfactorily resolved a number of enquiries specifically involving horseboxes in recent years.  Typically, we have found that HMRC have not understood the business sufficiently and we have been able to negotiate highly favourable terms.

*Call today for a free and discreet initial consultation:

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

New EU Rules to End Anonymous Ownership

December 19th, 2014

The EU is going to introduce firmer rules in 2017 in order to obtain details of the owners and beneficiaries of all EU based companies and trusts; in order to prevent their use for tax evasion: according to a report in The Guardian on 19 December 2014.

The EU is going to make additions to the anti-money laundering rules, in order to create “central registers of the beneficial owners of companies, trusts and other legal entities, giving the name, month and year of birth, nationality and residency of the people who own and profit from them. Banks, accountants, lawyers, real estate agents and casinos will be required to be more vigilant about suspicious transactions made by customers”.

The registers will be open to national authorities within the EU, such as Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.   Banks and financial institutions will get partial access in order to carry out mandatory “know your client” checks.  Partial access will also be available to anyone that who proves “a legitimate interest” in the information (e.g. journalists).

These plans are in addition to those by the following countries to create full public registers of company beneficial owners: United Kingdom, France, Denmark and The Netherlands.

What does this mean for me?
If you are the beneficial owner of shares in a so-called “shell company”, or the Settlor or Beneficiary of an offshore trust – and there are irregularities in your tax affairs related to those “secret” arrangements – then you are likely to be discovered by HMRC following the creation of these registers in 2017.  There are a number of attractive tax amnesties available at the moment, which could allow you to settle your affairs on beneficial terms.  Most of these will be closed in 2016.  You may therefore wish to take specialist advice now in order to see how you can best regularise your affairs.

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, companies and trusts. 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.

To find out how we can help you and for a free, confidential and no obligation discussion, call today on:

Call Paul Lynam today on 0845 643 9997

or Andrew Nutbrown on 07718 778710

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