A part-qualified accountant found guilty of a #20,000 VAT fraud has been given a four-month prison sentence, writes Gavin Hinks. Michael Griffiths, who ran his own practice at Bramhall, near Stockport, had not sent in the required VAT returns and had underpaid on assessments he had received. Sentencing the 36-year-old, the judge said that a prison term was necessary because Griffiths was not ‘an ordinary person’ but was responsible for giving financial advice to members of the public. The tax has been repaid by Griffiths who is a father of three. ‘Mr Griffiths has learned a tough lesson,’ said a Customs & Excise spokesman. ‘But we will crack down hard on anyone involved in major VAT evasion and this particularly applies to accountants, solicitors and other professional advisers. ‘They have a responsibility not only to be honest in their own right but give honest advice to their clients as well.’ Griffiths pleaded guilty to seven charges of deliberately underpaying his VAT.
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