Former soldier handed jail sentence after tax fraud

A FORMER SOLDIER turned tax agent has been convicted of six offences under the Fraud Act after he “lied” to cover up incorrect tax returns submitted for clients, following an investigation by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

Jonathan Lunn (actual name Christopher Jonathan Lunn) dishonestly sent false invoices to HMRC to cover up an increase in the amount charged for accountancy fees on behalf of his employers’ clients.

Clients were given one low-cost bill for accountancy services, which are tax deductible, but these bills were increased when their accounts were submitted to HMRC.

This meant that the firms’ clients paid less tax than they owed, as their fees were inflated to such an extent – sometimes by thousands of pounds – that the tax benefit was equal to the true cost of the accountancy service.

Jen Becker, assistant director for criminal investigation HMRC said: “Lunn admitted in court that the invoices were false but denied that he had lied to HMRC officers during the enquiries. The jury did not accept this. The overwhelming majority of tax agents are honest and HMRC relies on them to ensure their clients pay what they owe.”

Watt Busfield founding partner Rebecca Busfield said: “HMRC can now prove that deliberate errors were made by the agent which gives them power to review tax returns back twenty years. This is a warning that taxpayers should take care selecting their tax advisers and reviewing their tax returns before signing on the dotted line.”

Related reading