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Self-employed barrister from West London, Andrew Hill, was cleared of allegedly failing to pay £210,000 VAT on 1 June at the Old Bailey Chambers, London, for ‘honest’ organisational mistakes when it came to his finances.

Andrew Hill, 51 from Ealing, worked as a barrister at the Old Bailey Chambers in London where he was acquitted of failing to pay £210,000 VAT to HMRC on Friday 1 June 2012.

Hill was first charged with the alleged £210,000 VAT fraud in December 2011 by George Barbary, Specialist Fraud Prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service, who said: “I have authorised the charging of Andrew Charles Rowland Hill with a single offence

Hill was accused of cheating the public revenue on one count for allegedly committing £210,000 VAT fraud by collecting VAT on client fees; VAT which he failed to account for on his quarterly returns to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) between 2004-2011. of cheating the public revenue following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs.”

Andrew Marshall, Crown Prosecutor at Hill’s trial, said:

“Between 2004 and 2011 Mr Hill was in private practice as a barrister, issuing VAT invoices for his daily work. He collected VAT on all of these fees but he made no quarterly returns and he failed to account for all of that VAT. He kept the VAT for himself, it wasn’t his. He seems to have spent it.”

Old Bailey ChambersThe Crown Prosecutor also told the Old Bailey jury that as well as a property worth £777,000 in Ealing, Hill’s children attended private school in addition to expensive dining and lavish family holidays.

Claiming that he had ‘never looked at a bank statement, ever’, Andrew Hill, said: “I think that there are some things that I organise very well indeed, and there are other things that I just do not organise well at all.

After Hill was arrested for the alleged £210,000 VAT fraud he paid the outstanding VAT due to HMRC. When hill was cleared of all VAT fraud allegations at the Old Bailey Chambers on 1 June, he said:

“It’s been a terrible time for my family and to a lesser extent for me. I repaid all the money, I’ve got it organised for the future so there’s no reoccurrence of that which brought me here.”

Whether Hill’s failure to allegedly pay £210,000 VAT to HMRC was down to his lack of financial organisational skills, it is a reminder to the self-employed of the importance to keep on-top of invoices, receipts and the correct submission of tax returns to the revenue; one small absent-minded mistake could lead to an intrusive and upsetting HMRC tax investigation.

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