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Firms that 'deliberately defaulted on tax' named

HMRC has named and shamed companies for deliberately defaulting on tax. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphot

HMRC has named and shamed companies for deliberately defaulting on tax. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphot

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A number of Suffolk and Essex firms have been identified by HMRC for defaulting on more than £6.8m in tax.

Some of the companies blamed accounting errors for appearing on the HMRC list. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphotSome of the companies blamed accounting errors for appearing on the HMRC list. Picture: Getty Images/iStockphot

They include an Ipswich-based computer firm, which failed to pay more than £6.5m in tax, and a company behind several Burger King outlets.

Meanwhile, a Suffolk property development company blamed its accountant for its failure to pay £78,703. The accountant was jailed in 2016.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) said it published the firms’ details to “influence behaviour” and discourage defaulting.

Those included on the list, which is publicly available online, are stated to have either:

n Deliberately provided one or more inaccurate documents to HMRC

n Deliberately failed to comply with an HMRC obligation

n Committed a VAT or excise wrongdoing.

A HMRC spokesman said: “Publishing taxpayers’ names is not something we do lightly.

“There are safeguards including a right to appeal to the courts before any name is published.”

One the largest tax penalties on the current list belongs to computer equipment provider Business Networks Management, formerly known as Zambezi Business Management Ltd.

The firm, previously based at Woodrush Road, Purdis Farm, Ipswich, failed to pay £6,543,451 in tax between 1 June and 30 September 2015.

It was ordered to pay a £4,351,394 penalty by HMRC, and went into liquidation in 2016.

Raymond Graves, a friend of one of the company directors, said they would be appealing HMRC’s decision to publish the company details.

He said they would also be taking court action for damages.

When asked if the company did deliberately default on £6.5m in tax, Mr Graves, who is a chartered accountant, said: “I have no evidence supplied to me that they did.”

Meanwhile, CPL Foods Ltd, of Delta Terrace, West Road, Ipswich, defaulted on £110,472 between January 1, 2012 and December 31 that year.

The company, which is now in administration, operated several Burger King franchises across the UK. It received a £42,531 penalty charge.

Property development company, Sicher Properties Ltd, blamed its former accountant for its tax default.

The firm, formerly based at The Studio, Shilling Street, Lavenham, Suffolk, failed to pay £78,703 in tax between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011.

A spokesman for the company said its accountant at the time was responsible for the tax default.

The accountant was subsequently jailed for five years in 2016 for tax evasion.

“As far as we are concerned we did everything correctly,” the spokesman said.

“I am not an accountant and that is why we paid for one. You think what you are paying for is going to be correct.”

Also included on HMRC’s list is David Mills, formerly of 16 High Street, Ipswich and of Red House Farm, Mickfield Road, Stonham Aspal, Stowmarket.

He was disqualified as a company director for five years in 2016.

HMRC said he defaulted on £56,866 between April 2010 and April 2015. It listed his trade as “other income”.

Meanwhile, heavy plant hire company Anglian Excavations Ltd, failed to pay £37,575
between June 1, 2012 and May 31, 2013.

The firm, which was based at Rattlesden, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, was ordered to pay a £16,439 penalty charge.

Ian Juniper, of Carousel, Whitehouse Lane, West Bergholt, Colchester, defaulted on £31,499 in tax between April 6, 2010 and April 5, 2013.

His telephone marketing company, previously called IDM, was ordered to pay £16,537.

Despite the debt arising up to eight years ago, the company names have only been published by HMRC in the past 10 months.

Inland Revenue said those on the defaulters’ list have been dealt with using civil proceedings.

It does not contain convicted tax criminals who have been found guilty.

Details are published after HMRC has carried out an investigation and a person has been charged with one or more penalties for deliberate defaults, they said.

Those penalties have to involve tax of more than £25,000.

A defaulter’s details are held on the gov.uk website for 12 months from the date they are first published.

HMRC said people can avoid having their details published by cooperating with its compliance checks to ensure it is resolved promptly.

“If you wait until HMRC investigates you, and don’t provide all the information we need right at the start of the investigation, you run the risk of having your details published,” a spokesman said.

Attempts have been made to contact directors of all of the companies listed above.

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