22 February 2011 by

Filing tax returns

In the Crown Court the judge originally described Gareth Steed’s activities as “moonlighting”, i.e. legitimate trading which he failed to declare for tax purposes. Steed, in his limited defence, said he had not received tax returns but acknowledged that he failed to notify H M Revenue & Customs (‘HMRC’) of the charge to tax.

Steed was charged with three counts of tax evasion, resulting in the original three charges being dropped and the introduction of one new charge to which he pleaded guilty. The charge was common-law ‘cheat’, namely that between 1 April 2003 and 31 December 2004 he failed to submit declarations of tax due including the proceeds derived from the sale of vehicles, furniture and tools and from building work.

Steed accepted that a tax liability of at least £3,558 had arisen for 2002/03. However, this was not the end of the matter as following his conviction HMRC pursued confiscation proceedings. HMRC argued that he had a criminal lifestyle for confiscation purposes, under section 75 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (‘POCA’), on the basis that he had committed an offence over at least six months from which he had gained a benefit of at least £5,000. Had a tax return been submitted for 2002/03 it would have triggered not only payment of £3,558 for 2002/03 but also a payment on account for the following year, and so an amount exceeding £5,000.

The Crown Court judge found that Steed was unable to produce evidence to rebut the statutory assumptions and made a confiscation order against him for £707,200 under POCA, Steed’s ‘available amount’, with a four year prison sentence in default of payment by the due date.

Steed appealed, but the Court of Appeal upheld the confiscation order and dismissed his appeal. Ouch.

21 January 2011 by

Glass half empty?

What is the current liability to pay Business Rates on empty commercial property? This is a significant cost consideration to both landlords, who may be considering forfeiting a defaulting tenant's lease, and tenants who are in financial difficulty.

7 February 2011 by Louise Dawson

Seller bound by e-mail contract

The case of Nicholas Prestige Homes v Neal has recently been heard by the Court of Appeal. In this case, Mr Neal had entered by email into a sole agency agreement with Nicholas Prestige Homes to sell his property.

Signup To Our Weekly e-News

"*" indicates required fields

We’ll never share your details with any third party in line with our privacy policy.