VAT Fraud gang 

Three men jailed for 13 years for their part in a multi-million pound fuel and VAT fraud have been ordered to pay back almost £6.9 million or face more time behind bars. Senior citizen Michael Wilmot, 73, led the Lincolnshire gang that was jailed in July 2014 after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found they had evaded millions in duty and tax through a sophisticated fraud. Wilmot, transport manager Michael Taylor, 39, and HGV driver Derek Blackburn, 61, all from Market Rasen, appeared at Hull Crown Court where the confiscation orders were granted. David Cowie, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Our investigations do not stop at sentencing. It is crucial we look to stop criminals profiting from their crimes and reclaim as much as possible to put it back where it belongs – funding vital public services across the UK. “This criminal gang were put behind bars for stealing millions of pounds. Now they must pay back what they owe otherwise they will be spending more years in prison.” Wilmot used connections to a farmers’ buying consortium in Louth to order large quantities of rebated fuel, commonly known as red diesel. Unknown to the consortium, the fuel was sold on and used illegally in heavy goods vehicles (HGV) belonging to 35 different companies, all with connections to Wilmot. In an extension of the fraud, Wilmot played his part in issuing invoices for the haulage work carried out by the companies, charging customers VAT on their services. But instead of paying the VAT to HMRC, he pocketed the cash. In addition, none of the companies...

Have you returned your Self Assessment?

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is boosting its online protection and urging all customers to keep their personal details safe online, when completing their Self Assessment return. Over the next six weeks, HMRC will be issuing more than a million Self Assessment emails to customers, reminding them of the impending 31 January deadline. As one of the most phished brands in the world, HMRC has a strict protocol in place to help customers protect themselves against email scammers. Scammers use this peak in online activity to carry out increasingly sophisticated frauds and to make their phishing emails appear genuine and relevant. Cyber criminals are likely to use the approaching 31 January deadline for Self Assessment as a cover for their scams. Customers receiving an email from HMRC can check against the protocol to see whether it is genuine or a fraud. An HMRC email to customers about their personal tax or tax credits will never include or ask for: personal or financial information of any sort; this includes the customer’s full address, full postcode, Unique Tax Reference (UTR), or any bank details financial information which refers to specific figures, tax computations or specific facts about a customer email attachments web links an offer of a repayment or refund a personal HMRC email address to send a response to. The online tax return service is just one of the digital services that HMRC provides, with more than 85% of 2013-14 Self Assessments completed online by the 31 January deadline. Last week HMRC also launched the Personal Tax Account which, by the end of 2016, will enable all customers to communicate...