Ex-builder jailed after offering advice on how to commit tax fraud

A former builder who set himself up as a tax adviser, despite having no financial qualifications, instructed clients on how to commit tax fraud.

When HMRC tax investigators looked into 69-year-old Jeffrey Bakewell’s tax advice operation, they found that he had been showing his clients how to commit tax fraud by falsely claiming for travel and subsistence which had already been covered by their employers.

On behalf of his clients, Bakewell fraudulently claimed £1,507,965 in tax repayments between 2009 and 2015, but pocketed £301,897 to finance his gambling habit.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard that Bakewell – whose clients were mainly crane drivers, builders and other construction industry workers – had failed to register as a tax agent with HMRC as legally required.

He also failed to complete due diligence checks on his clients and failed to keep the records required by the Money Laundering Regulations.

Bakewell was jailed for five years and confiscation proceedings are now underway to recover the money he fraudulently obtained. Additionally, steps are being taken to recover money from clients of Bakewell who committed tax fraud.

Following the outcome of the court case, Paul Barton, Assistant Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “Bakewell had no financial qualifications and set himself up solely to advise people on fraud.

“He charged for advice on how to steal money from our vital public services but his appalling conduct has now put him behind bars.

“We will not allow criminals to attack the tax system and cheat the honest majority. Anyone helping tax fraudsters can expect to end up in court.”

Dr Anjulika Salhan, a director and tax investigation specialist with Salhan Accountants commented: “This case highlights the fact that HMRC and the courts will not hesitate to use the full force of the law to deal with anyone who has intentionally set out to commit tax fraud.

“Whilst there are some who will deliberately plot to defraud HMRC, equally many individuals unwittingly fall foul of HMRC’s rules and find themselves under the spotlight of a tax investigation.

“At Salhan Accountants, we work extremely hard for clients subjected to a taxation investigation. We not only clarify the issues and the process, but come up with solutions too.

Our experience, professional reputation, forensic attention to detail and negotiating skills mean we are well-placed to achieve positive outcomes.”

For more information about our taxation investigation services, please contact us.