Julia Irvine 4 Aug 2017 12:19pm

Pair caught out by own tax avoidance scheme

A husband and wife who devised a tax avoidance scheme to get their business out of trouble with HMRC have both been banned from being directors for a total of nine years

Timothy and Annette Edmunds, whose business, ESP Strategies, involved marketing tax avoidance schemes, used the scheme to move assets out of the reach of HMRC which was their sole creditor.

At the time HMRC had a claim against them for £133,245. The company is now in liquidation.

An investigation by the Insolvency Service (IS) found that ESP Strategies had entered into a tax avoidance scheme. This involved issuing shares totally £240,000 to the directors which were only partly paid for.

The pair agreed to a number of transactions finishing with the surrender of the shares. This meant that £230,400 uncalled share capital became unavailable.

“If your business engages in transactions in the run-up to liquidation which are detrimental to any of its creditors,” warned IS chief investigator Sue MacLeod, “the Insolvency Service may investigate you, leading to your removal from the business environment.”

Timothy Edmunds was disqualified from acting as a director for five years and Annette Edmunds for four years. The disqualifications take effect from next Monday (7 August).