HMRC Issues Warning to Barristers

Wealthy professionals, including barristes, have been issued a warning by the head of criminal investigations at HMRC, Donald Toon, that if they cheat their taxes, they will be caught and they will be dealt with.

Mr Toon issued the warning ahead of last weeks sentencing of a senior barrister, who is reported to have failed to pay more than £600,000 of VAT; in what has been described as the biggest case the taxman has pursued through the courts, since vowing to increase the number of tax avoiders it prosecutes.

It has been reported that the barrister, who has subsequently been sentenced to three and a half years in prison, was deregistered for VAT by HMRC in February 2000 following a history of failure to submit tax returns.

Being deregistered for VAT meant that the barrister was unable to legally trade above the VAT threshold of between £54,000 in 2001 and £67,000 in 2008; however his self assessment revealed that his income increased between £85,000 in 2001 to £346,000 2008.

Prosecutors in the case also claimed that during a twelve month period the barrister avoided paying tax, during which time he purchased two luxury properties and paid school fees.

At Milsted Langdon, as one of the leading chartered accountants for barristers, our dedicated partner-led team can help barristers ensure that they do not fall foul of HMRC’s regulations.

Our expert accountants and tax advisers are on hand to provide practical, friendly and personal advice to barristers in a very efficient, cost effective and timely manner; assisting all barristers with their tax, business and personal finance – to ensure that they meet both the personal and business finance goals.

As an accountant; David Jacobs offers a range of accounting, audit and taxation advice to the legal and medical professions.

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