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Tue June 15 2021

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Tax-dodging timber merchant disqualified

29 Apr 13 The director of Ipswich-based timber merchant Forestsale Limited, in Ipswich, has been banned from office for 10 years for failing to keep adequate accounts and for causing his company to trade in breach of VAT regulations.

Forestsale went into liquidation on 15 June 2011 owing £706,460 to creditors of which £451,433 was owed to HMRC.

Follows an investigation by The Insolvency Service, Stephen Charles Aldous Mr Aldous has been banned from acting as a director of any limited company until April 2023.

The Insolvency Service investigation revealed unexplained payments over the final two years of business. It was not possible to identify the recipients of cheques worth a total of £401,103. It was also not possible to establish why £33,170 was paid out for what appears to be non-business expenditure, or explain the origin of £23,429 paid into the bank account. Also unexplained was the true position of stock at the date of liquidation and how much VAT the company owed to HMRC.

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Further investigation showed that the company deregistered for VAT at 1 October 2003, at a time when its turnover exceeded the registration threshold. Following an inspection by HMRC, it was discovered that between 1 October 2003 and 15 June 2011 Forestsale had sales of close to £4m, yet failed to account for VAT owed on these sales – which meant a tax debt of £450,000 went unpaid.

Insolvency Service chief examiner Mark Bruce said: “Directors who seek an unfair advantage over their competitors by not paying tax should not expect to get away with it. Mr Aldous displayed a cynical attitude to the payment of tax and nearly £500,000 has been lost to the taxpayer. This money could have paid for essential public services.”

“Furthermore, the law requires that company directors must maintain sufficient accounting records that show and explain the company’s transactions. This director failed to do either and the volume of unexplained transactions over its trading lifetime was highly suspicious.”

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