Internet trader jailed for VAT fraud

Posted: 14th December 2011

Following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), an internet trader from South East London has been sentenced to 20 months in prison for attempting to avoid paying over £420,000 in VAT due on goods he had sold online.
HMRC officers raided Gregory Allnutt’s home in June 2011 and found evidence that from 1 September 2007 he had used a VAT registration number to obtain zero rated goods from suppliers within the EU and then sold them through another online company without declaring or paying output VAT to HMRC.
Mr Allnutt pleaded guilty to twelve counts of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of tax, contrary to section 72(1) of the Value Added Tax Act 1994. Confiscation proceedings are in progress.
Chris Martin, HMRC’s Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation said, “Allnutt thought that by trading online he could avoid paying his taxes, but he has discovered that isn’t the case. Our successful investigation and today’s sentencing send a clear message to others involved in such crime that our investigators will identify and pursue you.”
In early 2012, HMRC will be launching a campaign targeted at those who are using e-marketplaces to buy and sell goods as a trade or business but who fail to pay the tax owed and advises anyone who knows that this applies to them to come forward now to rectify the situation.