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Prison for VAT fiddling Accountant

June 19th, 2014

A West Country accountant was imprisoned this week after pleading guilty to a £95,000 tax fraud: in relation to his hands-free megaphone business.

Robert Leonard Carpenter, aged 64 from Barnstaple in Devon and who traded as “Accountancy Services”, invented a hands-free megaphone – setting up Voicethrower Ltd to market the product.  HMRC checked his VAT repayment claims (which from 2007 – 2012 totalled £95,030); asking for the invoices.  At first he told the taxman that some of them had been accidentally destroyed.  However, he admitted later that a lot of his costs were bogus.

Carpenter was charged with 2 counts of fraud.  He was sentenced this week to a year in jail, and was disqualified from being a Company Director for 6 years.

His Honour Judge Gilbert QC, said: “The fact you are an accountant is a serious aggravating feature.”

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

VAT Late Filing Penalty Waived: as “Disproportionate”

June 17th, 2014

The First Tier Tribunal (Tax) completely discharged a VAT late filing penalty (aka “Default Surcharge”) of £70,000, which HMRC had charged the Trinity Mirror newspaper group for the late filing of two VAT returns, both of which were only one day late.

Trinity group had an unblemished VAT compliance record.  But within the space of 1 year it filed 2 VAT returns late: albeit only 1 day late in respect of each.  HM Revenue and Customs, in its wisdom, decided that a ”fair” VAT Default Surcharge penalty would be one which was effectively charged at £24 for each minute the returns were late!  The total penalty they attempted to impose was £70,909: even after they had reconsidered the matter internally.  Unsurprisingly, Trinity Mirror appealed to The First Tier Tribunal (Tax).

All parties agreed that the legislation did not allow the Tax Tribunal to simply reduce the penalty.  The independent body could either uphold the penalty in full or completely discharge it.  In a verdict published this April, the Tribunal judges decided that “a penalty must not be disproportionate to the gravity of the infringement” (i.e. filing 2 days late).  In this particular case they felt that by charging such a large penalty – relating to a 1 day default – the taxman’s behaviour was “plainly unfair”, and that the penalty imposed was too “harsh”.  The intention of the legislation is that “different breaches warrant different penalties and the gravity of the infringement is relevant.  The gravity here is low, but the penalty is high.” As the Default Surcharges were disproportionate in relation to the offence of filing late (rather than to the amount of VAT involved), and they went beyond what was “strictly necessary for the objectives pursued”, the judges decided the penalties were excessive.  Therefore, the Tribunal could not uphold the penalties.  In the circumstances of the legislation they had no alternative but to completely discharge the penalties, i.e. reducing them to nil.

What does this mean for me?
If you are currently in a dispute with HMRC, you may find them very insistent about the application of the law: as they interpret it!  HMRC may say that a senior tax inspector looked at the case, or that the issue has been considered by their technical specialists.  It may even be that you have been unsuccessful by way of a Statutory Review.  What this case proves yet again is that the Tax Tribunal takes a strictly impartial approach to the interpretation of the legislation.  HMRC inspectors often “threaten” to take appeal cases to the Tribunal.  In fact, the Tribunal is as much a shield for the taxpayer, as it is a sword for the taxman.

Do I need specialist help with my tax appeal?
The taxman uses specialist ‘Appeals’ teams to lead its cases at Tribunal.  Lynam Tax Dispute Experts have decades of experience in handling contentious tax appeals, and can assist taxpayers and their accountants with the process; in order to achieve the optimum results.
*If you need help with a difficult tax dispute or a contentious tax appeal call now for a confidential and no obligation discussion:

Paul Lynam:  0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown:  07718 778710

“Bodging builder” builder banged-up

June 16th, 2014

Self-employed builder Carl Williams, aged 43, from Shirley, West Midlands has been dubbed the “bodging builder” by HM Revenue & Customs, and sentenced to 16 months in prison for his tax fraud.

Trading under the names of CA Williams and CJW Builders, between 2007 and 2011 Williams fraudulently under-declared his earnings and over-declared his purchases in his tax returns: claiming more than £52,000 in VAT repayments.  When HMRC questioned the tax returns in 2011 he gave the taxman false paperwork (using the names of 5 bogus companies) and claimed another £44,000 in VAT repayments.

HM Revenue & Customs alleged that some the customers they interviewed complained of extremely shoddy workmanship and of jobs he simply left unfinished.

Williams admitted 6 counts of VAT fraud and (unluckily for him) was sentenced on Friday 13 June at Birmingham Crown Court.

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

Confiscation Order: Pay Up or Stay in Jail

June 12th, 2014

A company director in Kent, who had previously been jailed for tax fraud, has now been ordered to pay back £62,000 to HMRC, or receive a further prison sentence of 19 months.

Olalekan James, aged 47 of Ashford, Kent, was sentenced to 18 months in prison in July 2013 following a tax investigation by HM Revenue and Customs. He pleaded guilty to making fraudulent VAT repayment claims for his mobile phone airtime companies: Zion Communications Ltd (formerly Alphavita Group of Companies Ltd).

HMRC then took Confiscation Order proceedings at Lewes Crown Court on 3 June 2014: where the judge ordered him to repay £62,000, or be sentenced to a further 19 months imprisonment.  If he doesn’t pay the money over now he will have to serve further time in jail.  But he would still then owe the money on his eventual release.

The Assistant Director, HMRC Criminal Investigation said: “HMRC works tirelessly, not only to identify tax fraud, but to actively seek to recover the profits of tax fraud.”

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

Tax Fraud Sparky Jailed

June 11th, 2014

HMRC’s latest tax prosecution press release, issued this week, is titled “Lights out for electrician jailed for VAT fraud”; and concerns a sparky from Surrey who had sent in fraudulent VAT repayment claims for £1.5 million.

Melvyn Horton, aged 58, was jailed this week: receiving a prison sentence of 3 years and 8 months.

Horton faked invoices, using the stolen identities of 7 companies, so that his business (Cobham Electrical Ltd) could send in fraudulent VAT returns to HM Revenue & Customs from 2009 to 2013. Horton falsely received £1,533,598 in VAT refunds.

Horton was arrested at his home in Walton-On-Thames in June 2013.  In January 2014 he pleaded guilty to furnishing a false document (contrary to the VAT Act 1994), and in May 2014 he pleaded guilty to money laundering (contrary to Section 327 (1) of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002).   As well as his custodial sentence Horton was disqualified from being a company director for 15 years; and HMRC have started confiscation proceedings.

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

47 Countries Pledge Automatic Info Exchange

June 3rd, 2014

This month the pan-global Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) declared that: “Bank secrecy for tax purposes is coming to an end as countries and major financial centres commit to automatic exchange of information between jurisdictions”.

At the OECD’s annual Ministerial Council Meeting in Paris on 6 May The Declaration on Automatic Exchange of Information in Tax Matters was endorsed during the by 47 countries.  The Declaration commits countries and jurisdictions to implement a new single global standard on automatic exchange of information, obliging them to obtain all financial information from their financial institutions (e.g. bank accounts) and then to exchange that data automatically with all the other signatory countries, each year.

The OECD Secretary-General declared this an attack on tax fraud and tax evasion, and boasted that this latest development was “another major step towards ensuring that tax cheats have nowhere left to hide.”

The 47 nations include: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China , Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica , the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, and United States of America.

What does this mean to me?
If you have an offshore bank account, then you need to take specialist advice immediately.  Even if you have no irregularities in your tax affairs, you are likely to be subject to a detailed and intrusive tax enquiry – if you do not deal with this matter properly and promptly.  If you do have historic tax problems then there are some highly beneficial disclosure methods available to you.

How can Lynam Tax Disclosure Experts help me?
Our Tax Disclosure Specialists have decades of experience of handling tax investigations and tax disclosures involving non-UK bank accounts, trusts, and companies.  We are one of the UK’s leading specialists in using the various offshore tax disclosures facilities (aka: Tax Amnesties). We can assess your particular situation and advise you of the optimum route.  We can manage your disclosure, and guide you to a successful outcome – as we have done for many satisfied clients.

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

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 0771 877 8710

Guilty PR Consultant Avoids Jail

May 29th, 2014

A Somerset based public relations consultant was sentenced this week for a tax fraud of failing to pay over £97,000 of tax and National Insurance Contributions.

The controlling director of Hillgrove Public Relations Ltd, Richard Hillgrove aged 42 of Somerton in Somerset, charged his clients VAT, and deducted Income Tax and NICs from his staff’s wages: but didn’t pay it over to the taxman.  Following a tax investigation Hillgrove was charged with 2 offences of Cheating the Public Revenue contrary to Common Law, by failing to pay £52,268 VAT and £44,846 Income Tax and NICs, in the period 1 March 2011 to 12 June 2012.

He was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court this week to 15 months imprisonment, but this was suspended for 2 years. He was also ordered to pay £5,000 in costs, and has to do 200 hours of unpaid work.

Recorder Mr Robert Linford described HMRC as having carried out “an enthusiastic and tenacious prosecution.”

What does this mean for me?
If you are worried about a potential tax prosecution or want to a make a disclosure (such as the Jersey Disclosure Opportunity) then Lynam Tax Investigation experts are waiting to help you by: handling these difficult issues; advising you of the best course of action for you and your family; and if necessary, helping you obtain first-class legal representation.  All on a completely confidential basis.

For an initial free and totally discreet consultation, call now:

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997

Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Taxman Boasts “Record Yield” From “Tax Dodgers”

May 27th, 2014

HMRC have published a boastful pamphlet this week to publicise “record revenues for the UK” coming directly from its “crackdown on tax dodgers”; and claiming to have brought in “a record £23.9 billion in additional tax revenue as a result of increased activity”.

The HMRC “Fast Facts: Record Revenues for the UK” document, published this week, gives details of the increasing success of HM Revenue &Customs’ tax compliance activities.

Key areas of success included:

Prosecutions: You’re Nicked! Between April 2010 and March 2014, HMRC prosecuted 2,650 individuals for tax crimes, achieving 2,005 convictions; a conviction rate of 76%.

Financial Penalties: Hit ‘em where it hurts! HMRC has charged tax geared financial penalties on 11,500 deliberate tax evaders since April 2011.

Cash from Criminals: Kick a man when he’s down! When thinking about prosecutions for tax crimes most people only consider the risk of going to prison.  Many don’t realise that in addition to any sentence imposed by the courts, Her Majesty’s Revenue &Customs will also seek a Confiscation Order in order to collect the lost tax, and other costs.  Since April 2010 the taxman has bagged £4.1 billion as a result of Confiscation Orders in Criminal Tax Investigations.

Deliberate Defaulters Programme: The Tax Offenders Register.  Since February 2013 the taxman has publicly named and shamed over 60 individuals, in cases of deliberate tax default of over £25,000 and where taxpayers did not cooperate with the HMRC tax investigation.

Managing Serious Defaulters:  Tagging Tax Cheats. HMRC has placed 5,200 individuals and businesses in this programme since 2010: “closely monitoring known rule breakers to 5 years”.

Tackling Offshore Evasion: You can run but you can’t hide! Through the various Offshore Disclosure Facilities 56,000 people have made voluntary disclosures worth over £1.3 billion: including £11 million from one individual in the Liechtenstein Disclosure Facility.  Additionally, HMRC are now proactively using the information they have gathered from various overseas banks etc, and since December 2012 have sent Tax Enquiry letters about offshore bank accounts to over 17,000 UK residents.

Cyber Sleuths: Data Analytics: HMRC proudly boasts of its “award-winning data analysis system, Connect”.  It claims Connect can “map an individual’s unique financial fingerprint and identify discrepancies between what we know and what they’re declaring”.  Since 2008, the targeted tax investigations generated by Connect produced £3 billion of additional tax revenue.

Rich Pickings: The High Net Worth Unit: In April 2010 HMRC created this new specialist unit to deal with the affairs of the UK’s 6,000 wealthiest individuals: people whose net worth was over £20 million.  Tax enquiries into individuals dealt with by that unit have netted HMRC additional tax of £853 million.

Large Businesses: The bigger they come… The biggest slice of the cake comes from tax enquiries into the UK’s largest business, where an extra £31 billion has been collected since April 2010.

What does this mean for me?

If you are subject to an HMRC tax enquiry, or worried that your tax affairs are not in order, then HMRC are hoping to send out a warning sign that their success rate is climbing dramatically.  They’re hoping to create a climate where people are sufficiently concerned about being caught that they will come forward and make voluntary disclosures.  At the moment, there are various time limited disclosure facilities and tax amnesties available to people who step forward voluntarily; in order to achieve settlement with the taxman on favourable terms.

How Can Lynam Tax Disclosure Experts Help Me?
HMRC’s continuing success in tax investigations stems from its use of specialist teams.  Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts are specialists in their field; and we will use our vast knowledge and expertise to help you through these difficult times.  If you have a worrying tax enquiry, or a tricky tax dispute, or if you are considering making a disclosure, please don’t hesitate – call our experts now:

Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997
Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710

Is the Taxman carrying out more Tax Enquiries?

May 26th, 2014

A report last week stated that HMRC investigations had doubled in the last year, according to Calum Fuller, writing in Accountancy Age.

He stated that a Freedom of Information Act request revealed that: in total HM Revenue & Customs made enquiries into the tax affairs of 237,215 people in 2012/13, compared to about 119,000 in the previous year; with tax investigations into the self-employed quadrupling, and the number of criminal tax prosecutions rising sevenfold.

However, in a typical example of the civil service refusing to actually provide any useful information freely, HMRC confusingly and unhelpfully stated that: “Most of the increase in personal tax enquiries is due to changes in how we calculate the numbers of enquires carried out”.

What does this mean for me?

Whether or not there has been an increase in tax investigations, the fact is that a large number of individuals and businesses do face intrusive enquiries from the taxman each year.  If you are currently undergoing a tax enquiry, or are worried that you may be targeted shortly, then you should consider obtaining specialist assistance.

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

Prison for Tax Diddling Cheshire Builder

May 25th, 2014

The latest tax fraudster to be given a jail sentence is a 49-year-old Wilmslow builder who deducted £114,000 tax from the sub-contractors he employed, but then simply kept it, rather than paying it over to the taxman.

Peter Jones had been registered under HMRC’s Construction Industry Scheme as PJD Cheshire Builders: of Wilmslow.  He engaged various jobbing sub-contractors on renovations and property developments. Jones de-registered from the CIS but continued to use sub-contractors for another five and a half years.  He deducted tax from the amounts he paid over to them, just as if he was still operating CIS, but in a simple tax fraud he didn’t pay it over to HM Revenue and Customs.

HMRC launched a criminal investigation culminating with Jones being charged on 9 counts with obtaining money by deception – including false representation contrary to sections 1, 2 and 3 of the Fraud Act 2006.  He pleaded guilty at Manchester Crown Court; where last week he was sentenced to 24 months (reduced by a third for the early guilty plea to 16 months) in custody.

What does this mean for me?

If you are worried about a potential tax prosecution or want to a make a disclosure (such as the Jersey Disclosure Opportunity) Lynam Tax Investigation experts can assist you.  We can help in: handling these difficult issues; advising you of the best course of action for you and your clients; and if necessary helping you obtain first-class legal advice.  All on a completely confidential basis.

For an initial free and discreet consultation call now:

Paul Lynam on: 0845 643 9997,

Or Andrew Nutbrown on 07718 778710

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