Since 2010, British businessman Adrian Richards has faced financial hardship after a serious case of identity fraud left him liable for a £130,000 unpaid tax bill in Germany.
Mr Richards, a project manager at a construction firm, also had to hire solicitors to contest a £34,000 court order.
This nightmare stemmed from the theft of his passport, which was used, with a different photograph, to launch a communications company in the Isle of Man that was later charged for breaking codes of practice.
The legal process succeeding the court order discovered the doctored passport, which led Mr Richards to think that his dispute with the German tax officials was also the result of identity fraud.
Mr Richards wrote to HMRC in July to plead his case but the demands for the unpaid tax continued.
It was believed that Mr Richards owed in excess of £130,000 to German tax authorities. But HMRC has since confessed this was an error – the correct figure was £113,028.
The Telegraph first ran Mr Richards’ story on October 19, 2013 and since then the German tax authorities have dropped the case, accepting that Mr Richards had been the victim of identity fraud, and confirmed that they are no longer chasing the unpaid VAT debts.
“Hopefully, this is the end of it,” Mr Richards said. “It is a great relief.”
Mr Richards added: “It is very frustrating that we have had to go through all this. It took the interest of a number of parties for [HMRC] to take a view on the situation. As soon as it stepped in, the German authorities withdrew their claim.”
Identity theft is when the offender takes another individual’s personal details and uses them to acquire credit or make a fraudulent purchase.
The stolen identity can also be used in applications for credit cards and loans, as well as and tax evasion.
And the consequences can be serious, resulting in a poor credit rating and a severe financial loss that can take months to resolve.
Have you been accused of tax evasion or tax fraud by HMRC?
KinsellaTax’s highly experienced team consists of an ex-Inland Revenue Inspector of Taxes and ex-HM Custom and Excise Officers, fully trained in all types of HMRC investigations.
We can help you with your appeal process and make sure that you avoid criminal prosecution. Call today on 0800 471 4546 and avoid your tax nightmare!