Bankrupt jailed over tax fraud

An Oxfordshire barrister who failed to declare his earnings or pay income tax, national insurance and VAT following his bankruptcy in 2008 has been jailed for three years after pleading guilty to a £274,000 tax fraud.

Michael Roberts, 58, from Henley-on-Thames, also admitted a charge of perjury after admitting that he had lied in responses given to the Official Receivers during the bankruptcy proceedings.

Roberts was declared bankrupt in September 2008, owing HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) more than £700,000 in unpaid taxes. His bankruptcy came less than a year after he had left chambers and set up as a self-employed legal professional specialising in insolvency cases and commercial, company and property law.

HMRC investigators became suspicious when they discovered that Roberts was trading whilst making no declaration to HMRC. He was issuing invoices and charging his clients VAT, using an old VAT registration number.

Roberts was sentenced on 17 October 2014 at Reading Crown Court by His Honour Judge Wood.

HMRC is currently targeting the legal profession through the Solicitors’ Tax Campaign, which was launched on 8 December. The latest in a series of HMRC initiatives focusing on specific groups of taxpayers, it gives solicitors the chance to put their tax affairs in order on the best terms available.

Solicitors have until 9 March 2015 to tell HMRC that they would like to take part in the campaign, and until 9 June 2015 to disclose and pay any tax owed.

In 2012, barristers in London came under HMRC scrutiny as part of a series of crackdowns on unpaid tax.

At Milsted Langdon, our team is experienced in all aspects of barristers’ tax and can provide expert advice on issues including setting aside money for future tax payments and tax relief. For more information, please contact us.

Posted in Barristers.