Music biz owner jailed for not playing by VAT rules

A freelance music business owner who made dozens of bogus VAT repayment claims to try to stop his business hitting a dud note has been jailed.

Richard Whittall, director of Self-Tune Systems Ltd, incorporated his business some eight years ago, supplying precision tuners for stringed instruments.

But according to HMRC, when the music company’s orders subsequently fell silent, the 76-year-old turned to tax fraud by putting in VAT repayment claims that were bogus.

In fact, within a three-year period, Somerset-based Whittall orchestrated false VAT repayment claims to the tune of almost £240,000.

Following its investigation into Self-Tune, and sister company Clair Price Trading Ltd, the Revenue accused him of being “unscrupulous.”

“Whittall knew he was breaking the law, but thought he could get away with ripping off honest taxpayers,” said HMRC’s assistant director of fraud investigation service Richard Wilkinson.

He added: “When we pay tax, we expect it to go towards paying for vital public services, not to line the pockets of unscrupulous traders.”

The music boss pleaded guilty last year to being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT and, on top of his two-year jail sentence, faces confiscation proceedings.


29th March 2019

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