Jail For Tax-Fiddling Mechanic

Yorkshire car mechanic Ian Coleman charged customers £300K VAT but didn’t pay it over to the taxman.  He’s now going to prison for 32 months: and has to pay it all back too.

Ian John Coleman (aged 53) of Liversedge, West Yorkshire ran a vehicle repair business, Top Gear Transmissions Ltd.   From 2003 and 2014 he charged customers VAT but did not send in VAT returns, or pay the tax over, to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.  Tax investigators discovered anomalies in his paperwork.  HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service Criminal Taxes Unit then got a search warrant for his lock-up, where the tax inspectors found the genuine business records – showing his real sales income going back to 2003.

The real records showed charged VAT of £231,444 but failed to pay it over to HMRC.  He had also accepted VAT Central Assessments that he knew were £72,617 lower than his actual VAT liability. Central Assessments are estimates issued by the VATman when a taxpayer fails to submit a VAT return.  But the taxpayer is legally obliged to provide the correct figures if they know the Central Assessment is insufficient. Tax investigators also found that Coleman had evaded a further £15,000 of VAT by under-declaring his scrap metal sales.

The court was clearly not impressed by Coleman’s only defence: that he was “no accountant”. He pleaded guilty to 12 counts of the fraudulent evasion of VAT at 1 July, and was sentenced to 32 months’ imprisonment on 12 August 2016.  HMRC is now taking action under the Proceeds Of Crime Act to confiscate assets in order to recover the total VAT and interest of £377,141.05.

How Can Lynam Tax Investigation Experts Help Me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts are vastly experienced in the practical art of successfully helping clients who have serious tax fraud investigations.  We can advise you on the best course of action.  We can help you with any necessary disclosures.  If you’re the subject of a criminal tax investigation, we can help you get first class legal representation.  We can get 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 ever reaching court.

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