A 2nd car dealer with a multi-million pound turnover who operated off the grid for 14 years when it came to his tax affairs has been jailed for tax fraud after HMRC finally caught up with him.
Ambrose Smith, aged 71 of Norton in Gloucestershire, was not registered for Income Tax, VAT or National Insurance – despite selling millions of pounds worth of cars over a period of at least 14 years. He was a trade middleman: buying vehicles from dealers and auction sites and then selling to other dealers. HM Revenue and Customs tax investigators found that millions of pounds had passed through his bank accounts; including an offshore bank account in the Channel Islands. Smith did not keep any formal business records, but the tax inspectors discovered handwritten diaries (in a transporter on his driveway) recording the car sales. The tax officers also got copies of sales invoices from the car dealerships he had traded with.
Smith was charged with 2 counts of “cheating the public revenue”. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 4 years and 8 months imprisonment. The amount of the tax fraud was agreed at £789,809 from 1997-2011. Smith had invested his gains in property in Gloucestershire. HMRC have started proceeds to recover the proceeds of these tax crimes.
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