A four year prison term has been handed down to a millionaire business owner who has not paid tax because he described himself as someone who is not a paperwork person. The businessman from Orpington, Peter Charles Duffield managed two profitable enterprises, a shooting club in Dartford and a haulage business located in Essex. Although Mr Duffield owned these businesses, he didn???t submit any tax returns or declare his profit acquired from multiple property sales.
After an investigation from the HMRC, it was discovered that Mr Duffield had not declared his earnings even after receiving warnings from his accountant and book keeper. In June 2015, he was arrested at his property and he informed the investigation team that his tax returns through self assessment had not been submitted for a period of seven years.?? The reason that Mr Duffield stated was that he was not ???a paperwork person???. Mr Duffield had also received warnings from the HMRC to ensure that his tax was in order. The officers who arrested Mr Duffield at the time also recovered ??20,000 in cash discovered in his wardrobe and car.
Establishing Tax Fraud
The tax fraud was discovered by the HMRC property task force which was established to identify individuals or businesses who were paying little or no tax on property. Mr Duffield had not paid any capital gains tax for property that he had sold which was in breach of a prior agreement that provided him with an opportunity to put his tax issues in order.
During the investigation, officers from the HMRC identified that while Mr Duffield maintained detailed records of his business and submitted all earnings and receipts to his accountant and book keeper, he never submitted the self assessment returns that had been prepared for him and claimed that he believed his accountant had submitted these on his behalf.
Furthermore, the investigation uncovered that the money Mr Duffield should have spent on tax was instead used to fund a luxurious lifestyle included family holidays, expensive watches, two mortgages on property as well as other investments and vehicles. In total the tax fraud was in excess of ??1 million.
The HMRC stated that if Mr Duffield had acted differently, jail could have been avoided, particularly if he had followed instructions to get organise his tax affairs properly, but despite professional advice and official warnings he did not do so.
The HMRC take tax fraud very seriously and they do encourage anyone who believes that a business or individual has committed any type of tax fraud to report the activity to the relevant authorities.