News Business Crime & Financial Services 12th May 2022

Gavin Irwin defends company director in £5million VAT evasion

Not guilty verdicts were recorded against Gavin’s client at Southwark Crown Court when the Crown Prosecution Service offered no evidence after considering an application to dismiss two charges of cheating the public revenue.

The case focused on the proper deployment of an ‘option to tax’.  The sale of property is ordinarily exempt from VAT but the option to tax permits a business to elect to charge VAT on the sale of otherwise exempt commercial property and to recover VAT on related development costs, for example, surveyors and other professional services.

The value of the VAT evaded was said to be >£5M and the issues were further complicated by the use of offshore Special Purpose Vehicles.  Charges were brought despite the fact that Gavin’s client had stopped working and had been enjoying his retirement.

All criminal charges against Gavin’s client are now concluded but the case continues in relation to a co-defendant.

Gavin was instructed by Grant Ambridge, Managing Partner at Murray Hughman.


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