The principal of the School of Computing and Business Studies in London fiddled tax of nearly £300,00, by failing to declare the rents from his buy to let portfolio. He refused COP9, which would have allowed him to avoid prosecution. He’s been convicted of tax fraud and now has 3 months to repay £283,886, or start a 3 year sentence in jail.
A tax investigation by HM Revenue and Customs proved that Mr Macdonald Ogochukwu Abamba (aged 57) of Carshalton had failed to declare his rental profits from 10 properties in South London, between April 1997 and April 2012. He used the fiddled tax money to purchase land and properties in the UK; Dubai; Ghana; and Nigeria.
HMRC discovered his fraud as part of its wide-ranging and ongoing checking of property owners and landlords. When they first suspected Abamba of tax fraud HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service gave him the chance to make a disclosure under the civil Contractual Disclosure Facility (i.e. Code of Practice 9); which guarantees non-prosecution for anyone who fully confesses their deliberate tax irregularities. However, he spurned that opportunity resulting in an HMRC criminal investigation; which in turn led to him being charged with “cheating the public revenue, contrary to common law”. He pleaded guilty to the tax fraud and was sentenced 9 February 2016 to: 2 years in prison (suspended for 2 years); 200 hours of unpaid work; and ordered to pay £1,500 in costs. A confiscation order was also made for £283,886. It has to be paid in full within 3 months or he’ll face a default sentence of 3 years.
What does this mean for me?
If you are a property landlord with undeclared rents, you need to be aware that HMRC now have a vast source of information available to them, and a very sophisticated computer system (known as connect) with which to analyse that data. They are catching an increasingly large number of buy to let investors. All of them will be investigated. Some will be prosecuted.
If you are issued with HMRC’s Code of Practice 9 (Contractual Disclosure Facility) you need to take the matter very seriously. COP9 comes with a guarantee of non-prosecution, but only if you make a full disclosure. COP 9 is issued by specialist investigators in HMRC’s elite Fraud Investigation Service. If you have got tax irregularities and you fail to properly disclose them, then there is a real risk of prosecution.
How can Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts help me?
Our specialists have vast experience in handling tax enquiries and disclosures regarding rental properties. We also have real expertise in dealing with Code of Practice 9 tax investigations. HMRC’s uses specialists. If you get a COP9 enquiry then you need our specialists on your side now.
Don’t delay! Call an expert now for your free initial consultation:Fraud Investigation Service
Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997
Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710