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Lorry driver jailed after smuggling tobacco

Daniel Pacurar tried to smuggle into the UK 400 kilos of tobacco. Credit: HMRC

A lorry driver who tried to smuggle 400 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco into the UK has been jailed for 12 months at Maidstone Crown Court

Daniel Pacurar was caught by officers at Dover Ferry Port hiding his illicit haul worth £79,240 in duty, behind bags of aggregate in the lorry trailer.

The tobacco was hidden behind bags of aggregate. Credit: HMRC
The boxes containing the tobacco Credit: HMRC

Courier jailed for two years for failing to pay VAT

A Kent courier who failed to pay more than £325,000 in VAT has been sentenced to two years imprisonment after admitting he fabricated his accounting figures in a bid to avoid paying HM Revenue and Customs.

Anthony Hyde, 51, from Aylesford, who operates TK Courier Services, registered for VAT in 2007. After he avoided meetings with HMRC, compliance officers discovered that for five years he had deliberately misreported his figures to avoid paying tax.

He was told by HMRC that he owed £325,623 in VAT, and was later charged with fraudulently evading VAT. He subsequently pleaded guilty.

At Maidstone Crown Court yesterday, Hyde was sentenced to two years imprisonment. He will serve one year in prison and one year on licence.

“Anthony Hyde ran a relatively successful business, but once he began deceiving HMRC it became very difficult to stop. By the time he admitted his crimes, he had been lying for more than five years, incurring a huge debt.

“It is simply not fair for some people to operate at an unfair advantage by failing to pay the taxes that other legitimate businesses have to pay. We are focusing more effort than ever on stamping out this type of fraud, and will not hesitate to take action against cheats.”

– Alan Tully, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC


Revenue reveals ‘top 10 oddest excuses’ for late tax returns

With the January tax return deadline just around the corner (end of Jan), HM Revenue and Customs has revealed the ‘Top 10 oddest excuses’ for sending in a late return. The following bizarre, exotic and flimsy excuses have all been used by tardy taxpayers:

  • My pet goldfish died (self-employed builder)
  • I had a run-in with a cow
  • After seeing a volcanic eruption on the news, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else
  • My wife won’t give me my mail
  • My husband told me the deadline was 31 March, and I believed him
  • I’ve been far too busy touring the country with my one-man play
  • My bad back means I can’t go upstairs. That’s where my tax return is
  • I’ve been cruising round the world in my yacht, and only picking up post when I’m on dry land
  • Our business doesn’t really do anything
  • I’ve been too busy submitting my clients’ tax returns

Tax man 'disappointed' after union's call to strike

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs have said they're disappointed that the PCS union has called for it's members to strike on Monday. It's in protest for the loss of 400 HMRC jobs at its Portsmouth office. Picket lines are expected to be manned outside WIngfield House. In a statement, HMRC said:

“HMRC is disappointed with the decision to strike and will do everything it can to maintain services to the public. We are seeking dialogue with the PCS to address their concerns, and will work to minimise any disruption to our customers."

Strike action called

The Public and Commercial Services Union is calling for a day of strike action against the potential loss of 400 jobs at HMRC in Portsmouth.

The union claims that government cuts will lead to the closure of HMRC's office - Wingfield House.

It's understood that staff will man picket lines against the cuts on Monday.

We do not want to take this action but we have come to an impasse with both HMRC management and the Government. The austerity measures outlined in the 2010 spending review mean less staff to do the same amount of work. If the staff reductions have to be achieved through redundancy PCS believe there will be no actual savings in closing Wingfield House

– PCS Union spokesman

Yacht broker jailed for not paying VAT

James Williams with HMRC inspectors Credit: HMRC

A dorset yacht broker who charged £210,000 VAT on the sale of 6 luxury boats but failed to pay HMRC has been jailed for 3 years.

James Williams, 51, was found guilty on false accounting and cheating the public revenue.

Officers say he used the money to fund a luxury lifestyle and to renovate a luxury 44 foot yacht called 'Siri'.

The boat has since been sold has the tax inspectors try to reclaim the missing VAT.

Siri Credit: HMRC