HMRC finds fraudster’s failure to pay VAT just not ‘good enough’

A scrap metal dealer, who committed tax fraud when he failed to hand over more than £200,000 of VAT he had charged his customers, has been imprisoned for 18 months.

HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) taxation investigators discovered the VAT fraud when they looked into the business affairs of Russell Goodenough, who ran the scrap metal business from his home in Auchterarder, Scotland.

The tax investigation revealed that Goodenough had imported tonnes of scrap metal from Europe, which he then sold on to customers here in the UK, charging them a total of £205,600 in VAT, which he pocketed rather than handing the money over to HMRC.

Goodenough pleaded guilty to criminal charges of fraudulent evasion of tax and was sentenced to 18 months in jail on 29 January 2018.

Cheryl Burr, Assistant Director, with HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, said: “Goodenough deliberately lied about his trade with European countries to throw us off the scent of his premeditated VAT evasion, but now he is paying the price behind bars.

“The VAT he charged should have been used to fund the public services used by us all, but Goodenough decided to pocket the lot.”

Dr Anjulika Salhan, a Director and tax investigation specialist with Salhan Accountants commented: “This case shows the far-reaching powers at HMRC’s disposal.

“Where a person has deliberately set out to commit tax fraud, HMRC will not hesitate to prosecute and lengthy jail sentences are not uncommon.”

“Only a minority of individuals intentionally set out to defraud HMRC. However, there are many people who find that they are under the spotlight of a tax investigation, having unwittingly broken HMRC’s tax rules.

“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.