The Taxman Strikes Back: Tax Accountant Convicted

An accountant who published a book on dodging tax has himself been convicted of committing a £120,000 fraud.

Martyn Arthur, aged 68, from Bryneglwys in Porthcawl, Wales used to boast about his ability to “beat the taxman”. He wrote a book called: “The Taxpayer Strikes Back” – about how to “stand up to” HMRC. He was convicted last month at of two counts of “Common Cheat”; after being caught by HMRC Tax Inspectors of fiddling £88,500 of tax (and £31,400 of interest).

Arthur, who did not appear to belong to any professional accountancy body, started his career in the Inland Revenue: before leaving to become self-employed as a tax adviser. His approach to HMRC was always hostile. The court heard that HM Revenue and Customs began a civil Tax Enquiry in 2012. Arthur’s behaviour went from un-cooperative to deliberately hostile and aggressive – in a bid to put off investigators. The Tax Inspectors discovered that over a 5-year period Arthur had submitted inaccurate Tax Returns. He tried to cover his tracks by “deliberately keeping incomplete records, using multiple accounts and moving money between them”. He was arrested in 2015 by HMRC – on suspicion of Cheating the Public Revenue. His wife and son were also arrested. HMRC seized historical documents from him at the time of his arrest. He was arrested again in mid-2016 on suspicion of breaching the Official Secrets Act.

During his trial, he alleged his records had been stolen; he blamed members of staff for inaccurate record-keeping; and he said his alcoholism had caused him problems too. He had been declared bankrupt and disqualified from being a company director in 2008 – but he continued to run one of his companies in his wife’s name; and it became clear in his interview that he really ran the show. Arthur represented himself during the trial.

The judge at Cardiff Crown Court told Arthur: “You are a man who has destroyed your own reputation. You are now professionally worthless. You are now convicted as a cheat and a fraudster”. Arthur was given an 18-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to complete 20 days of a rehabilitation activity. He was disqualified from being a company director for 5 years. There will now be a hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act to recover the fiddled tax.

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