Jail for Tax Fiddling Derby Accountant

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