‘Lies’ by Tony Monger, former HMRC investigator and investigation team leader

Tony Monger highlights a particularly egregious case where an HMRC invigilation came up with some very fishy conclusions.

Every three months HMRC publishes a list of ‘Deliberate Defaulters’ – and if you are not familiar with it, I heartily recommend it. It makes fascinating reading. Essentially, it lists those taxpayers who, in the previous quarter, have been found to have evaded more than £25,000 of tax and who are considered to have done so deliberately – by which I mean that they are considered to have known what they were doing and intended to do it.

The amounts involved are sometimes quite astonishing. So, for example, in the list of details published in June 2020 you’ll find a company called P J Eastbourne Ltd who had been assessed for evaded duties of £261,707.51 for the period from 2 May 2016 to 2 August 2020, and had also been hit with a penalty of £151,136.08, which works out as 57.75% of the duties. The period assessed suggests that this is VAT – and, if that is so, and assuming a 20% VAT rate, that would suggest that the company had evaded VAT on income of five times the duties – which comes to a whopping £1.3 million over, what, four years and three months. That’s around £300k per year, an astonishing amount.

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