HMRC Is Shite

HMRC Is Shite
Dedicated to the taxpayers of Britain, and the employees of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who have to endure the monumental shambles that is HMRC.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Professionally Worthless Accountant Sentenced For Tax Evasion

WalesOnLine reports that an accountant who “knew the system inside out” cheated HMRC out of £120,000 and tried to derail their investigation into him.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Martyn Arthur deliberately covered his tracks by keeping incomplete records then sent threatening and bullying emails to HMRC staff and prosecutors.

In his sentencing remarks Judge Michael Fitton QC told the defendant: “You are a man who has destroyed your own reputation. You are now professionally worthless.”

The charges of cheating the public revenue related to the five-year period between 2008 and 2013.

Anna Midgley, prosecuting, said Arthur worked as an accountant throughout his career, starting out with the Inland Revenue – now HMRC.

Judge Fitton noted that meant he “knew the system inside out” and had written a book called The Taxpayer Strikes Back about how to “stand up to” the tax authority. Prosecutors suggested he was in a position of trust and responsibility in his more recent role as a self-employed tax adviser.

Ms Midgley said: “In essence, he submitted inaccurate tax returns... in order to avoid paying the tax that was due.” She told the court he covered his tracks by deliberately keeping incomplete records, using multiple accounts and moving money between them.

The court heard HMRC launched a civil inquiry in 2012 and Arthur’s behaviour went from uncooperative to deliberately hostile and aggressive in a bid to put off investigators.

Judge Fitton said he “bombarded” HMRC with emails “to make yourself such a pain for them to deal with, you hoped they would regard you as not worth it and give up and go away”.

He was given an 18 month suspended sentence.

Tax does have to be taxing.

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  1. 18 month suspended sentence, Whoopi do!

    1. The legal system has never treated tax evasion with the severity that it should.
      However, if it was a 20 year old single mother who'd fiddled a few quid on her benefit claim she'd be doing time now.

    2. Rubbish. The combined HMRC, DWP and local authorities largely turn a blind eye to benefit fraud, save as to the odd case which is supposed to serve as a warning to others. Of course it is no such warning at all since the chance of being caught, least of all prosecuted before the court, is remote at best.
      The approach to tax evasion is similarly lackadaisical; neither system has integrity and both rely on the compliance of the majority.
      Anyway, following the relative 'success' of HMRC's furlough and self-employed grants schemes, that nice, smiling Mr Harra doling out all that 'free' money surely has the knighthood in the bag...just don't mention the department's culture of violent bullying since it came into existence 15 years ago!

    3. Utter tosh from @12:51. When I worked for HMRC the intranet was full of 'triumphant' stories of the less well-off being sent down for comparatively low amounts of tax credit fraud. Yet when we found that the great and the good had somehow managed to underdeclare their tax by 6 figure sums the department was usually less than enthusiastic about taking legal action.
      PS:How's the police investigation into the violent bullying against you going?

  2. @14.33. Newspapers and the media fail to report on court proceedings in very many cases. I remember years ago when journalists used to attend each court, but only see the occasional one now and again.

    Maybe one of these journalists will be interested in the bullying accusations, seeing as police and solicitors don't seem to be doing anything?

    1. In fairness to the police and solicitors they can only do something when somebody makes a formal complaint and there is sufficient evidence to proceed with civil or criminal action.
      Nobody seems to have made a formal complaint and no evidence seems to have been forthcoming.
      Which makes some of us doubtful as to whether or not the 'violent bullying' actually happened.