Top 10 tax fraud cases of 2017 revealed

08 Jan 2018

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has published its top ten tax fraud and organised crime cases of 2017.

Amongst the 762 individuals convicted last year for their part in tax crimes are people with offshore accounts, a would-be spy, high net worth individuals and data thieves.

The ten most significant cases, which each came with large prison sentences, are:

- Six men from the South East jailed for a total of 45 years after persuading wealthy individuals to invest in largely fake environmental projects.

- A pair of London fraudsters who evaded £46.5 million in tax by smuggling wine into the UK.

- A millionaire businessman from Kent who failed to file a single return or pay £1.3 million in tax because he wasn’t a ‘paperwork person’.

- A gang of international alcohol smugglers jailed for a total of 19 years after smuggling beer into the UK and evading £3.8 million in duty and VAT.

- A Dubai-based British businessman, who financed a major cigarette smuggling gang, stripped of prime Thames-side land to pay back £4.5 million.

- Nine people, including the owner of a Belfast based fuel supply company, sentenced for laundering, concealing and distributing about 4.5 million litres of red diesel worth £2.6 million in lost duty and taxes.

- A Kings Lynn man who told his family and friends he was a spy travelling abroad when in reality he was visiting holiday homes bought with the proceeds of a £1.6 million VAT fraud.

- The evasion of £17 million in lost excise duty and VAT from the manufacture of illegal tobacco products that cost three men a total of 16 years in jail sentences.

- A former Ascot man who hijacked details of an offshore company in the British Virgin Islands to commit a £640,000 fraud.

- A wannabe TV presenter from south Wales who was part of a gang of four involved in a £400,000 VAT fraud, jailed for a total of seven years.

Commenting, Simon York, Director of HMRC’s Fraud Investigation Service, says: "Throughout 2017 our officers have worked hard to take the profit out of organised crime, create a level playing field for businesses, and use the full range of our powers and capability to ensure that no one is beyond our reach.

“2018 will see many hundreds more tax fraudsters tried for criminal offences, as HMRC continues to work on behalf of the honest majority to ensure tax crime doesn’t pay.”

If you are concerned about a tax enquiry into your affairs, worried that you may have possibly under-declared or, worse still, are you already under enquiry, our tax specialists, some of whom are former HMRC Inspector of Taxes, are well versed in dealing with all types of tax issues. We are also readily available to oversee HMRC disputes on your behalf, as well as to represent clients in appeal proceedings before the Tax Tribunal. In certain situations, we can also offer professional fee protection insurance, so the costs are covered in whole or in part.

For more information and to discuss your tax affairs in further detail, please contact Paul Attridge, Alan Ford or your usual Beavis Morgan Partner.