Fraudulently prepared accounts - how far back can we go?
Difficult one this (at least for me it is!).
Employee has been stealing from client (one man band sole trader) for a number of years. In order to get away with it for so long, payments to herself or other people on her behalf were disguised as PAYE/VAT payments on the SAGE system and also disguised on the bank statements. PAYE/VAT was not being paid to HMRC but when HMRC debt collection services called, they rarely got past the employee, so this was able to continue for a few years.
The employee not only did the book-keeping but also did the year end accounts so there was no third party firm of accountants to pick up on any wrongdoing.
My question is this. How far back will HMRC allow taxpayers to go back and resubmit accounts that were in effect false. Client has HMRC threatening bankruptcy due to the unpaid PAYE/VAT going back 7 years but doesnt have the funds. One way of getting the funds is to redo accounts for x number of years which will alter the amount of tax paid thus creating a tax repayment which can be used to reduce some of the PAYE & VAT. The question is, just how far back?
Another problem we are up against is HMRC are being awkward about supplying us with payments they have received. They sent back a letter along the lines of "all businesses are responsible for keeping their own records of PAYE.....blah blah" which is true, but the owner has been too trusting and allowed the employee to commit theft/fraud and it would be so much easier to have an official list of PAYE payments made to save us the hassle and cost of contacting the bank and asking for a breakdown of every single cheque and BACS payment for 7 years.