A London accountant has recently been jailed after pocketing £11 million of clients’ money. The accountant used a simple technique – he submitted false returns for his clients, which led to refunds of tax and VAT being received. His arrangements with clients were such that he received the refunds himself and subsequently accounted to his clients for the sums ostensibly due to them, after deducting a 15 per cent charge.
The scam worked to the extent that it did because the accountant’s clients were foreign residents with little knowledge of the UK tax system.
The accountant also understated his own taxable income by more than £800,000 over a seven-year period. He was expelled from the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales in 2006.
Fortunately, dishonest accountants are rare. Your accountant should be open in its dealings with you and be willing to show you copies of all submissions made on your behalf to the tax authorities, and their responses. If you have concerns over how your tax affairs are being dealt with, we can advise you of the appropriate steps to take.