A TAX ADVISER and accountant to media stars has been convicted of evading more than £6m in tax.
Dennis Christopher Carter Lunn, known as Christopher, ran a Sussex-based accountancy firm, Christopher Lunn & Co, boasting 7,000-plus clients with many from the media and entertainment worlds.
The firm was investigated by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and in 2010 the premises in Crowborough were searched and Lunn was arrested. HMRC uncovered evidence of a range of serious offences, which included the inflating of accountancy fees and the fraudulent use of trading losses – all intended to help Lunn and his clients evade paying their tax.
He stood trial at Southwark Crown Court in September 2013, charged with six counts of cheating the public revenue. In January 2014, he was acquitted on two charges while the jury was unable to reach a verdict on the remaining four.
However, after five years of detailed investigation, HMRC finally saw Lunn convicted at the retrial, where a jury found him guilty of four counts of Cheating the Public Revenue. He will be sentenced on 6 January 2016.
As Lunn’s clients were unaware of his actions, they have been offered a chance settle themselves by paying any tax and interest due. Any clients who have not yet come forward pending the outcome of the trial have been encouraged to speak to HMRC to bring their affairs up to date – as many have already done.
Rebecca Busfield, partner and co-founder of tax investigations firm Watt Busfield, noted Lunn has always maintained that HMRC had a personal vendetta against him.
“It has therefore been very confusing for ex-Lunn clients who were asked to make voluntary disclosures to HMRC without evidence of any deliberate tax fraud by Lunn,” she said.
She added: “This case highlights the importance for taxpayers to take more care when appointing a tax adviser, keeping organised records and receipts, and checking their accounts and tax returns thoroughly before signing on the dotted line.”
HMRC director-general for enforcement and compliance Jennie Granger said: “Lunn believed he could make up fraudulent claims to benefit both himself and his clients. Hard work from HMRC officers across the department proved him wrong. This long-running investigation has already recovered £20m, as Lunn’s former clients settle their tax liabilities, with more to come.”
His son Jonathan (actual name Christopher Jonathan Lunn) was convicted of six fraud offences last year, relating to incorrect tax returns.
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