Barrister found guilty of tax fraud

A self-employed London barrister convicted for tax fraud was this week sentenced to 3 1/2 years in prison after failing to pay Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs more than £600,000 of VAT.

Mr Rohan Pershad, aged 44, had homes in Surrey and Somerset and practiced as a barrister in London.  HMRC tax fraud investigators discovered that the lawyer had failed to declare or pay £627,839 of VAT over a period of 12 years.  The tax dodger spent the money on and private school fees for his children and his luxury homes.

Pershad had been deregistered for VAT by the HMRC in 1999 – following a history of failure to submit VAT returns and to tell the old HM Customs and Excise about his change of address. As he was deregistered it was not lawful for him to trade above the VAT threshold – e.g. £67,000 in 2008.  But his Self-Assessment Tax Returns (which he sent to the old Inland Revenue) showed his income had increased, e.g. from £85,000 in 2001 to £346,000 in 2008, breaching the VAT registration limits each year. Throughout the period 2001 -2008 he continued to use his cancelled VAT number on invoices.  So he was charging VAT on his fees to unsuspecting clients, but pocketing the money for himself rather than paying it over to the taxman.

He was convicted, at Blackfriars Crown Court, of Cheating the Public Revenue (i.e. common cheat). HMRC have started Confiscation Proceedings to recover the money from his assets.

HMRC currently has a legal profession tax taskforce operating in London.  Taskforces target specific trade sectors, professions, and locations where HMRC feels there is evidence of a high risk of tax evasion. Since May 2011 HMRC has launched over 30 taskforces across the country and says it is on target to collect £50 million from the first 12.

Lynam Tax Investigation Experts have a vast amount of practical experience in managing serious tax fraud investigations.  If you are worried about a tax investigation 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, confidential chat about your tax affairs, don’t delay, call:

Andrew Nutbrown: 0771 877 8710
Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997