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Devon based accountant Robert Carpenter was jailed last week after pleading guilty to fraudulently claiming over £95,000 in VAT.

Carpenter, from Barnstaple, was sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment and has also been barred from being a company director for six years

Trading as Accountancy Services, Carpenter developed a hands-free megaphone solution and became the sole director of Voicethrower – a company specifically designed to market the product.

Over the course of five years (2007–2012), Carpenter submitted fraudulent VAT claims of over £95,000 to HMRC – £50,435.85 for Voicethrower and £44.594.15 for Accountancy Services. Carpenter received a repayment of £78,583.

HMRC said they became suspicious of his repayments and requested invoices, which Carpenter claimed had been destroyed accidentally. However, these invoices didn’t actually exist.

Carpenter also confessed that the majority of the expenditure hadn’t even been made.

He was charged in December 2013 with two counts of fraud, pleading guilty in court leading to his sentencing.

During the court proceedings, Judge Gilbert QC, stated that Carpenter being an accountant was a “serious aggravating feature”.

“This was not fraudulent from the outset but was carried out over a long period of time. You are an accountant and these offences involved fraudulent VAT returns which were professionally planned for your own benefit over four and a half years,” he said.

Colin Spinks Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, also added that Carpenter’s position of trust meant that he was mindful of the fact that he was breaking the law.

KinsellaTax’s view:

First it was a bookkeeper, now it’s an accountant…being a financial professional doesn’t mean that you are able to cover your tracks any better than others!

VAT Fraud tax enquiries are serious and anyone undergoing a Value Added Tax (VAT) fraud investigation by HMRC should have strong and reliable representation from the outset.

KinsellaTax staff consists of ex-HM Inspector of Taxes and ex-HM Custom and Excise Officers, fully experienced in HMRC investigations.

Call us NOW on 0800 471 4546 to speak to one of our VAT Fraud tax enquiry experts.

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