Tax adviser jailed following £70 million fraud

A professional tax adviser who was accused of attempting to defraud UK taxpayers of £70 million has been jailed at Blackfriars Crown Court.

David Perrin, deputy managing director at Vantis Tax, was convicted of cheating HMRC and could now face jail. Mr Perrin was responsible for the creation of a special tax avoidance scheme that helped wealthy taxpayers exploit the laws around giving shares to charity.

Using a network of finance professionals and advisers, he recruited 600 wealthy clients who proceeded to buy shares worth a few pence each in companies he created. These firms were then listed on the Channel Islands Stock Exchange, where people were then paid using an offshore account to buy and sell shares at an inflated price. Share owners would then donate around 329 million shares to various registered charities before seeking to claim £70 million tax relief of £214 million of income and company profits.

In each instance, these claims were based on the shares being worth up to £1 each, with Perrin accruing £2 million from the scheme. However the scam did not last, with the system soon uncovered and shut down.

HMRC criminal investigator Jim Graham said: “With his knowledge of the tax system, Perrin thought that he was one step ahead of both HMRC and the law. This cynical fraud not only stole millions of pounds from taxpayers, but also conned innocent charities into accepting gifts of virtually worthless shares."