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Accountant Fined By HMRC For Obstructing VAT Fraud Probe

by Jason Gorringe, Tax-News.com, London

06 October 2016


In a first for HM Revenue and Customs, an accountant who failed to cooperate with a value-added tax fraud investigation has been fined GBP25,000 (USD31,750) under the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act.

Announcing the fine, HMRC said the accountant had refused to assist its officers in investigating his clients, despite being legally compelled to do so. The accountant has been warned that failure to pay the fine will mean 18 months in prison.

Disclosure Notices, which require individuals to share paperwork and information with HMRC when part of a criminal investigation, were ignored by the accountant. When challenged by investigators, he made a number of statements that were found to be untrue. This included saying that he didn't act for the clients, when he did.

Simon York, Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: "As a professional accountant, [his] role was to offer sound advice to his clients and comply with HMRC regulations. Instead he abused his privileged position, knowingly broke the law, and failed in his professional duties. HMRC is determined to clamp down on financial crime. Today's result sends a clear message to anyone who is considering trying to cover up tax fraud: nobody is beyond our reach."

Kristin Jones, Head of the Specialist Fraud Division at the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "This case demonstrates the repercussions of a refusal to cooperate with the authorities. We will continue to utilize the full powers afforded to us by the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act 2005 and not flinch in prosecuting those who do not comply with legal requirements."

TAGS: individuals | compliance | tax | value added tax (VAT) | law | United Kingdom | regulation | VAT compliance matters | Invest

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