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Car dealer accused of cheating the taxman of almost £500,000

A Hampshire second hand car dealer has been accused of cheating the taxman of almost £500,000.

Joseph Robinson, 61, operated his business under a series of names while trading as Chilworth Cars, reports the Southern Daily Echo.

Robinson also sold Japanese grey imports.

The prosecution allege the car dealer failed to declare his correct level of profits for the years ending 2000-03 as well as failing to register for VAT.

Robinson submitted a total net profit of just over £28,000, but the true figures were much higher.

Philip Henry prosecuting said: "As a result of this failure, he has caused loss to Customs and Excise totalling £469,743, “He was fully aware of his responsibilities at the time of the returns and he knew that for a considerable time.

 

“The figures were manufactured and false and the profits he made during those years exceeded the profits he claimed he was making. No one likes to pay tax but unfortunately those are the rules.”

Robinson was arrested after his accountant David Day contacted the Inland Revenue following concerns about his tax returns.

 

The court heard Robinson's previous accountant had warned him of the importance of ensuring the tax details were correct before signing them.

Mr Henry said: “But from the outset, Robinson provided Mr Day with few records and little information, despite repeated requests. It is the Crown’s case that from the outset, the defendant was willing to sign incorrect figures.” 

Mr Day told Robinson in a letter in 2000 he should have registered for VAT and if he wished to apply for it they could do it for him, but "he never did." 

While preparing Robinson's 2002 returns Mr Day became concerned the car dealer had not been teling him the extent of his trading and contacted the Inland Revenue, but nothing was done.

The accountant also raised concerns with the authority in 2003 and in a meeting said Robinson had a turnover of more than £1m.

Robinson was finally arrested after his accountant David Day contacted the Inland Revenue over his concerns of the businessman's tax returns.

Police later searched Robinson's  home and seized documents including business records and bank details which included off-shore accounts.

A statement prepared by Robinson's solicitor claimed he had no reason to believe he had not been "compliant" in relation to his business and tax affairs.

Robinson said he had entrusted his affairs to Mr Day and felt "let down."

The car dealer of Chilworth Road, Chilworth, denies four charges of making false statements and one of cheating the public revenue.

The case continues.

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