Pension Schemes (EFRBS –Employer Finances Retirement Benefits Scheme)

An EFRBS is an unapproved pension scheme, which means that it does not share the same tax advantages as that of a normal work related pension scheme. Although they are operated like a normal pension scheme, the tax advantages available are not as generous as those who hold an occupational pension.

Similar to the EBT schemes, the EFRBS works when an offshore trust is established in order to benefit employees and their families. The employer transfers funds into the trust. The trustee’s of the scheme then apply the funds via sub-trusts to the benefit of the employees of their families depending on the deeds of the trust.

The intention of these schemes is to obtain retirement benefits which may consist of low tax or tax-exempt benefits or cash advance sums in the form of a loan.

Former tax boss Andrew Meeson, and his business associates, pocketed £5m in a “very simple and very lucrative scam” by claiming tax relief on fictitious pension contributions, a court has heard.

Andrew Meeson – Tax Fraud

Meeson, former president of the Association of Taxation Technicians, is accused, along with Peter Spencer Bradley, Alison Jayne Bradley and Steven Price, of conspiracy to cheat HM Revenue and Customs between 1st January 2006 and 30th April 2010.

Despite the charges against them, all four defendants have pleaded not guilty.

Steven Price, 47, has also denied a further count of acquiring criminal property from the proceeds of the alleged fraud.

David Farrer QC, prosecuting, told the jury at Birmingham Crown Court that Meeson, 52, and his co-defendants “invented two relatively large pension schemes with completely fictitious members and over a substantial period ‘reclaimed’ tax from the Revenue on non-existent contributions.”

Pension schemes – how do they work ?

Pension scheme administrators currently make monthly Relief at Source (RAS) claims to HMRC for tax relief repayments on behalf of members but are not required to break down the claim by individual scheme or identify member contributions.

Meeson and the two Bradleys were directors of a scheme administrator called Tudor Capital Management.

The prosecution said they hid tax relief claims for the “fictitious” Moya schemes amongst claims from other genuine schemes.

The jury heard that the three defendants acted as accountants for Moya but were never appointed as pension scheme administrators because no such scheme ever existed.

The Moya group itself had previously been involved in two large tax frauds which resulted in prison sentences for its directors and forced the companies out of business.

The prosecution claimed that Meeson registered the first Moya scheme with HMRC in May 2006 and allegedly began making false RAS claims to HMRC in April 2007, shortly before Moya was wound up.

A second “fictitious” scheme was allegedly registered with HMRC in March 2008 with Price appointed as trustee.

Price was allegedly used for his false name – he has admitted criminal possession of a false passport and driving license in the name of Shaun Stokes who had passed away in 2003 – and was purportedly well paid for his false name and documents and for acting as a “sort of ‘stooge’ trustee”.

The court heard the defendants moved money between TCM’s bank account and an account they allegedly set up for the Moya scheme to create the illusion of contributions being made. However there is no trace of the £20m contributions supposedly received from Moya employees.

As soon as HMRC began to scrutinise the Moya claims, the three defendants abandoned the fraud.

The trial continues …

Tax fraud investigations are serious and should be dealt with by a tax investigations expert as they can result in a lengthy prison sentence.

KinsellaTax staff consist of ex-HM Inspector of Taxes and ex-HM Custom and Excise Officers fully trained in all types of HMRC tax investigations.

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