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back to article 3 Brits banged up for £300k VAT scam

Three men have been jailed for setting up nine totally fictional firms so that they could get away with £300,000 in a VAT scam. The men set up bogus companies including a clothes manufacturer, a publishing house and a software engineering company and then submitted VAT repayment claims for the businesses, the HMRC said today. …

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FAIL

3 out of 1000's

HMRC have no idea of the scale of this type of fraud - we see evidence of it regularly.

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Holmes

Re: 3 out of 1000's

The Right Honorable Jacqui Smith - Britains first female Home Secretary - fiddled £100k and merely had to issue a pretend apology to her fellow MP's during the great corruption exposure a couple of years back. After agreeing to such a demanding act of contrition, they allowed her to keep the loot. She did lose her job though, more likely because of the embarrassment the porn she charged to the taxpayer caused than the real crime. Anyway, just shows the British justice system for what it is when you hear of others caught doing the same thing (3 people, £300k) - porridge for you lads, with no early kid gloves release of the kind Chris Huhne is about to get.

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Thumb Down

Re: 3 out of 1000's

In which case you have a moral duty to tell them about it.

That is if you really did give a damn.

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FAIL

"We are working relentlessly to combat those involved in tax evasion and fraud and bring them before the courts. With over £10 billion being stolen from UK finances each year by criminals, it is serious crime which we are determined to eradicate."

Is that £10 billion calculated the same way that the movie and recording industries calculate their losses due to piracy?

Or to put it another way, if they know they're losing £10 billion a year due to tax fraud, why haven't they stopped it?

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Unhappy

Two years ago the British Government gave Ireland $8bn, and I mean gave - there's now no requirement for it to be paid back.

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They can work out the difference between exports and VAT receipts on a macro level, they're just not sure who's comitting the fraud.

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Anonymous Coward

We're all in it together

but its still ok for Vodafone, Starbuck's etc to pay virtually no tax....

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Re: We're all in it together

You are so wrong! Starbuck's have said they will pay 20 million quid in tax over the next 2 years. This "pay what you think is reasonable" approach will then be rolled out to all of us, presumably....

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FAIL

Re: We're all in it together

FFS. All these companies are paying tax according to the law. Nothing more, nothing less.

Same as me. Same as you. Unless you routinely volunteer to pay extra tax you don't owe? No? Thought not.

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Megaphone

Re: We're all in it together

Eh? They paid their legal tax entitlement.

I have not met anyone who has voluntarily paid any more tax than they are legally obliged to. Have you?

It's disgusting how politicians could dare to call that morally repugnant. Firstly politicians are not employed to judge the morals of the citizens that they serve. The mere fact that any of them think that they are just shows how out of touch they are. Secondly, I would like to see them tackle the problem instead of blaming and guilt-tripping others. Thirdly, how can any politician claim moral superiority over any other human being?

"Politicians are not born, they are excreted."

- Marcus Tullius Cicero

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FAIL

Re: We're all in it together

"FFS. All these companies are paying tax according to the law. Nothing more, nothing less.

Same as me. Same as you."

Yes but I doubt you or he get to take the head of HMRC out for lunch to discuss being let off a hugh tax bill, do you?

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Bronze badge

Re: We're all in it together

But Vodafone, Starbuck's etc do pay VAT!

It is just that because of the way VAT is accounted for, it does not appear in the company accounts, which are used for determining company tax liabilities - which is what most of the fuss has been about (although there is an element of VAT evasion in the charges made against companies dealing in digital content and services).

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Flame

Re: We're all in it together

Starbucks complied with the law. The fault lies with the incompetents who make the law.

Vodafone's deal was almost certainly illegal - and was the acceptance of an offer made by Hartnett after Vodafone had bought him a lunch or two.

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Anonymous Coward

sends a clear message, lol

18 months, clear message indeed. They should have thought big, gone for £30 mln profit, would have got maybe 5 years, and when out, they could live happily ever after, abroad, from the money carefully stashed away there. Alternatively.... banking! They should have become bankers, one of those innocent types who lost, oh, I don't know, 30 billion, and then get 3 years of paid-for vacation, and publishing rights when they're out.

that said, they might still employed as consultants by one of those small businesses involved in double Irish-Dutch sandwich making...

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Meh

or ....

Try this graphic.

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Headmaster

Re: or ....

I'm not sure which makes me more annoyed: the £120bn avoided/evaded/uncollected estimate by the Tax Justice Network (which is probably on the conservative side of reality), or that the circles are scaled by radius rather than area (to deliberately and needlessly skew the perceptual effect).

[It's probably the former, but still...]

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Anonymous Coward

Silly, should have been bankers

They should have been following the banker rule book!

Fred Goodwin, Adam Applegarth, Hornby, etc, etc.... thats how to do it!

millions? pah! go for BILLIONS!!!

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POCA

also, I hope a Proceeds Of Crime order was levelled on them, so they can pay back the ill gotten dosh.

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Meh

"3 Brits banged up for £300k VAT scam"

Or alternatively - "VAT scam banged up 3 Brits for 300k"?

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Facepalm

Damned if they do

and damned if they don't from the looks of it. As for living off the proceeds I seem to recall several reports in broadsheets that showed HMRC always went for a POCA. A nd the perps didn't pay up more time in the chokey until they did.

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FAIL

With over £10 billion being stolen from UK finances each year

Gee, for a minute I thought they had caught up with ticket-cheat Osborne for not paying for his rail rides.

Some countries make everyone, including companies, pay VAT first, then they can seek a refund after they can prove goods were sold on. Seems to work well. The governments always get the cash first then payout after satisfying themselves all was well.

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Just the same old choice crimes.

I'm not sure if they've got a right to decide if these people were trading or not but just recently the trustees of a childrens' charity bought bonds with all of the charity's funds, £176m worth, then sold them for £17k to a friend presumably with apparently no law broken. It's the same old story of this being the sort of crime that an aspirant man commits so it's punished whereas the plonkers behind the desks always get away with it.

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