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  • Writer's pictureChris Thompson

Constructionline's Requirements Update: The Vital Importance of Anti-Tax Procedures


Engaging in tax evasion practices is a serious crime with severe penalties, fines, and legal repercussions, capable of damaging a company's reputation and causing financial distress. Constructionline has recently introduced significant changes to their Silver and Gold Membership, particularly in the Business and Professional Standing sector. They have incorporated questions on money laundering, making it necessary for companies to have a comprehensive tax evasion policy. This requirement is not only specific to Constructionline but holds immense significance for any company. Implementing effective tax evasion and money laundering policies can significantly enhance the credibility and trustworthiness of small to medium companies, attracting investors, customers, and business partners who value ethical and transparent operations. As a result, opportunities for collaboration and growth are likely to increase.

In the following case study, we delve into a shocking incident of tax fraud that not only reveals the financial implications but also uncovers the severe consequences associated with such illicit actions.

Company director jailed for defrauding the taxpayer of more than £2 million.

Businessman Ben Richardson has recently been sentenced to six years in prison for his involvement in embezzling over £2 million from public funds while overseeing struggling construction companies. Richardson confessed to committing tax evasion crimes, which encompassed fraudulent VAT avoidance and failure to disclose Construction Industry Scheme returns, amounting to nearly £2.2 million.

Between October 2010 and July 2019, Richardson operated four companies engaged in distributing modular buildings. His wife, Dawn Richardson, was involved in all four enterprises and received a suspended 17-month sentence for her participation. As the director of SBR UK, Richardson managed Merrydale Enterprise Ltd and manipulated Merrydale into paying VAT on subcontracted work, even though SBR UK was not registered for VAT. Additionally, Richardson utilized a VAT registration number associated with another deregistered business he owned.

Richardson illicitly obtained £256,078.40 from HMRC by reclaiming VAT payments, while SBR UK failed to record any VAT, resulting in a total of £1,212,955.32. Following the insolvency of SBR UK, Richardson controlled the company's contracts through SBR Modular and continued engaging in fraudulent VAT evasion, accumulating £91,139.49. Eventually, SBR Modular also faced insolvency.

Using funds obtained through tax evasion, Richardson, along with his associate Michael Brown, established Ilex Industries. They charged VAT to customers without submitting returns to HMRC, accumulating £239,723 between May 2016 and April 2019. Brown served as a nominal director in this endeavour.

Moreover, Richardson's sister, Vickie Amas, was convicted of concealing criminal property related to money laundering. Amas received a suspended 10-month prison sentence. The Crown Prosecution Service remains dedicated to prosecuting fraudsters who target taxpayers.

Handcuffs and bank cards

Ben Richardson’s case highlights the severe consequences of tax evasion and embezzlement. Richardson's involvement in fraudulent VAT avoidance and failure to disclose Construction Industry Scheme returns resulted in the embezzlement of over £2 million from public funds. This case emphasizes the importance of implementing robust policies and training to prevent such events from occurring.

Tax evasion is not a victimless crime; it directly impacts the revenue generated for crucial public services like the National Health Service and education. The dishonest evasion of VAT, income tax, and National Insurance ultimately affects all citizens. The Crown Prosecution Service's commitment to prosecuting fraudsters who target taxpayers is a testament to the seriousness of these offences.

To mitigate the risks associated with tax evasion, our team at Base Solutions Ltd offer online courses and anti-tax evasion policy documents. Such resources provide businesses with the necessary knowledge and tools to prevent illicit financial activities, ensuring compliance with tax regulations and promoting ethical operations.

It is imperative for companies to prioritize the implementation of robust policies and training programs to safeguard against tax evasion and protect their reputation. By proactively addressing these issues, businesses can contribute to a fair and transparent financial system while avoiding legal repercussions and preserving public trust.


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