HMRC tax investigation leads to legal representative being jailed for fraud

A tax investigation has led to a  former legal representative has been jailed for two years and eight months for hiding his earnings from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and failing to pay around a quarter of a million pounds in tax and national insurance contributions.

Godofredo D’alpoim Guedes failed to declare the income he received, whilst acting as an accredited legal adviser to people in police custody in London and the South East.

The 63-year-old also fraudulently charged his clients VAT, using a VAT number which had been de-registered in 2004 when he was made bankrupt.

John Cooper, Assistant Director with HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service said: “Guedes worked in a position of trust and should have known better than to commit tax fraud. He tried to avoid paying his fair share at the expense of honest UK taxpayers and is now paying the price for his criminal actions.”

HMRC uncovered the fraud after officers carried out a compliance visit on another company. They discovered the company had used Guedes as a legal adviser and officers found invoices which showed he was using a de-registered VAT number. Guedes subsequently filed for bankruptcy, for a third time, in February 2013.

A tax investigation into his financial affairs revealed that between 2006 and 2013, around £800,000 had been deposited into his bank account. He defrauded £247,000 by not paying £131,359.99 in Income Tax and £18,968.84 in National Insurance, and pocketed £96,699.78 in VAT payments from his clients.

On 13 October 2015 Guedes pleaded guilty to tax fraud. He was jailed for two years and eight months at Isleworth Crown Court on Tuesday 19 January 2016.

Passing sentence, Mr Recorder P Clark, said: “You fraudulently received public money meant for the administration of public services. You knew that the harder you worked, the more money you would receive and the more you could dishonestly retain.” He added that Guedes’ actions had been “thoroughly dishonest and disgraceful”.

Dr Anjulika Salhan, a director and tax investigation specialist with Salhan Accountants commented: “HMRC come down particularly hard on professionals as it is expected that their honesty and integrity should be of an exemplary standard. However, this case is far from unique. We have personally represented a number of accountants and solicitors who, for a variety of reasons, have found themselves in breach of HMRC regulations.

“As with all HMRC matters, tax investigations need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency in order to mitigate any resulting penalties.”

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. Whether an individual or company, talking to us is your best step towards addressing a taxation investigation and moving on with your life. For more information about our taxation investigation services, please contact us.