Carraghyn - Chartered Directors

HMRC Cannot Be Trusted

The amazing story in The Telegraph “How one family were brought to their knees by the taxman” http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financial-crime/9716421/How-one-family-were-brought-to-their-knees-by-the-taxman.html is unfortunately not that amazing.

The story documents how a legitimate, successful and law-abiding business, Abbey Forwarding, was liquidated by HMRC on the basis of suspected alcohol duty fraud, without evidence or justification.

A strong and well run business was forcibly closed by the liquidator, resulting in many unemployed. The directors of the business were taken to court, and the edge of bankruptcy, by the liquidator using the bottomless pockets of HMRC funding. The so-called evidence used by HMRC to justify their actions was proven to be massively false in court, resulting in the dismissal of the case, yet still HMRC tried to sustain their persecution of the directors. The directors proved to be resilient, and eventually HMRC withdrew and dropped their false and fraudulent claims in preference to losing another court case. The HMRC appointed liquidator resigned, and the directors are now pursuing HMRC for the millions of pounds they have lost.

There are many lessons to be gleaned from the case, here are a few:

  • HMRC’s powers are excessive, and like all excessive powers are prone to abuse.
  • HMRC investigators do not necessarily act on evidence, in the absence of evidence they may take action based upon their intuition or prejudice and use their excessive powers to “go fishing”.
  • In the absence of evidence HMRC investigators are prepared to falsify evidence and submit false evidence to the court.
  • A clean bill of health from a “routine” HMRC inspection may be nothing more than a cover for an HMRC covert inspection that has failed to yield the evidence they desire.
  • Any liquidator, however reputable, appointed by HMRC cannot be trusted. They may be being misled by and acting upon false evidence provided by HMRC.
  • Directors and Officers Insurance is essential for all company directors, and a major purpose for it is to fight the spurious and untrue allegations routinely made against directors from many misinformed or malicious sources.

I sincerely hope that Louise Brittain has learned her lesson and never again acts for HMRC. I doubt it, it must be difficult for her to accept that a major arm of the UK Government acts illegally, but hopefully next time she will go in with her eyes open.

HMRC’s use of ex-parte hearings to obtain liquidation orders must stop. Ex-parte hearings have no place in any judicial system, they are inherently and intentionally unfair. I accept that they may have a valid role in a handful of national security investigations each year, to prevent terrorist atrocities, but there can be no other conceivable justification for them in a fair society.

As to the HMRC staff involved in this appalling case, will they be brought to justice? I doubt it, HMRC will protect them, and in doing so it will show, again, that it considers itself to be above the law and acting against the interests of both justice and the UK’s hard-working business people.

You can read more tax related articles at our sister website - Link4Business

Follow Us:

  • Facebook: Carraghyn
  • Google+: 107302261143529823760
  • Linked In: company/carraghyn-ltd
  • Twitter: carraghyn

Login

You are here: Home Carraghyn's Blog HMRC Cannot Be Trusted