Haulier disqualified for misleading HMRC

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Steven Ronald Heard has been disqualified from acting as a company director for eight-and-a-half years for not properly dealing with the tax affairs of LVH Services Ltd.

Heard was a director of LVH Services Ltd. An Insolvency Service investigation discovered that at least £509,370 of VAT was neither reported nor paid to HMRC and transactions totalling £1,142,960, the majority of which were to recipients connected to Heard, had insufficient explanations or supporting documentation.

LVH Services Ltd started trading in September 2009 as a freight and haulage provider from The Old Gatehouse, Sheerness Docks, Sheerness, Kent, ME12 1NB. It went into liquidation on 12 February 2014.

A statement from the Insolvency Service said the investigation revealed LVH submitted a VAT reclaim for the 12/11 quarter totalling £64,948. HMRC inspected LVH’s records in May 2012 and found that rather than a repayment to LVH from them £215,881 was owed by LVH in relation to VAT. LVH de-registered for VAT on 1 April 2012.

On inspecting the records of an associated company in 2013, HMRC established that from April 2012 LVH had been issuing invoices to that associated company within which VAT totalling £365,491 was charged. This was after LVH had been already been de-registered for VAT. These transactions created a benefit for that associated company and £219,293 should have been paid to HMRC on these transactions. LVH was then re-registered for VAT and, at liquidation, £654,960 was due including interest, surcharges and penalties, in relation to VAT alone.

The Secretary of State accepted an undertaking from Heard on 19 April 2016, not to act as a director of a limited company for eight-and-a-half years from 10 May 2016.

Cheryl Lambert, chief investigator at the Insolvency Service, said: “This is a significant ban, reflecting the severity with which the Insolvency Service considers the conduct of the director.

“Mr Heard oversaw an operation that, over a very long period, did not submit accurate information to the tax authorities and, after de –registering for VAT, participated in a scheme to use one company to reduce the VAT exposure of a connected company. The consequence is that over £1/2m was not properly reported nor paid to HMRC.

“Mr Heard’s conduct of LVH’s affairs fell extremely short of the standards of competence and integrity expected and to protect the integrity of the economic system, the Insolvency Service will use its powers to protect the business world, and the general taxpayer, when director’s act in this way.”

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