Millionaire tax fraudster jailed after paper-thin excuse fails to convince judge

A millionaire businessman has begun a four year prison sentence after failing to convince a judge that his reason for not submitting his tax returns was because he was not a ‘paperwork person.’

HMRC tax investigators discovered that fraudster Peter Charles Duffield had failed to pay more than £1.3 million in tax that was owed.

Duffield, aged 62, from Orpington, ran two very profitable businesses including a haulage firm and a shooting club but had failed to submit a single tax return on his earnings, including profits from the sale of three properties.

The tax fraud was discovered by an HMRC property taskforce – a department which cracks down on those who avoid paying tax on property transactions. Duffield had failed to pay Capital Gains Tax following the sale of one of his properties, which breached an earlier agreement he had made to put his tax affairs in order.

Duffield told arresting HMRC officers who turned up at his home that he had failed to submit his Self-Assessment tax returns for the last seven years because he wasn’t a “paperwork person”.

In court, Duffield’s paper-thin excuse unravelled when evidence revealed that in fact he kept extremely detailed business records and ensured that his bookkeeper and accountant were notified of all receipts and earnings, but had failed to sign the tax returns that had been prepared on his behalf.

Instead the tax fraudster had used the money on a lavish lifestyle including family holidays to Marbella, Rolex watches, investments in an Iraq phosphate mine, a gun collection and at least nine luxury cars.

Dr Anjulika Salhan, a director and tax investigation specialist with Salhan Accountants commented: “This tax fraud was uncovered by a HMRC taskforce which was set up to crack down on fraudsters operating in sectors which have a high risk of tax evasion.

“This case highlights that HMRC and the courts take a dim view of individuals who intentionally set out to commit tax fraud.

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