HMRC books £156k refund from bus operator’s £1m tax fraud

A Luton businessman, who provided bus services for vulnerable people, has been ordered to pay back more than £156,000 he obtained through a £1m tax fraud or face a further five years in prison

An HMRC investigation set up in 2013 established that James Taylor, who had a long-standing transport contract with a local authority, had deliberately wound-up nine companies to avoid paying around £1m of PAYE and VAT.

When Taylor shut a company down, he diverted money owed to HMRC into his personal bank accounts before starting up a new one. The local authority was totally unaware it had been dealing with more than one company, as he used the same trading name, Taylors Transport Services, throughout the scam.

He pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT and income tax at Luton Crown Court in June 2016, and was given a 30 months prison sentence. 

The court heard how Taylor used the stolen money, calculated at £972,170, to help fund a holiday home in Devon, rent sports cars including a Bentley Continental GT and quickly pay off a big mortgage.

He has now been served with a confiscation order at the same court and must repay the £156,807 sum within three months or serve more time in prison. Should HMRC locate more of Taylor’s assets, it can look to recoup further proceeds of his crime.

Kevin Newe, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: ‘Our work does not stop at sentencing and Taylor’s fraudulently-funded affluent lifestyle of fast cars, houses and holidays are well and truly over. Now he’s being stripped of his home and all his assets. If we unearth more, we’ll go after that as well.’

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