Christopher Lunn charged with tax fraud

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Chartered accountant Christopher Lunn has been charged with tax fraud and summonsed to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 15 August.

The decision to prosecute was authorised by Matthew Wagstaff of the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Central Fraud Division, based on material put together from the HMRC investigation.

Lunn, who last year won a partial victory against HMRC in overturning an ban from him acting as an agent, advised TV stars such as the BBC’s Fiona Bruce and actor Sean Pertwee.

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01st Aug 2012 11:33

This had already become a farce for HMRC....

.... you'd think they would try to quietly drop it. But, those intent on suicide are hard to stop.

I suspect that this will become a landmark case, highlighting the activities and processes of HMRC, and that ultimatately we will see the demise of the organisation that is HMRC.

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01st Aug 2012 11:34

Why do you say that, Trevor?

I'm curious!

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02nd Aug 2012 09:29

Because ....

ShirleyM wrote:

I'm curious!

.... in summary...

Many of HMRC's actions have been evidenced as undertaken without following proper procedures or legal authority; or indeed taking into account judicial orders.

The case will, I believe, focus in depth upon such issues and therefore highlight numerous issues within HMRC. Lunn and Co may be guilty of some things, but is another thing to prove it and government departments need to prove certain facts before taking relevant action. "Evidenced based work" and reasoned action seems to have been alien to many within HMRC, for many years.

I would not wish such a situation on anyone, but I am glad such "attention" is not on me.

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01st Aug 2012 12:13

Thanks, Trevor

Curiosity satisfied :)

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01st Aug 2012 12:17

Christopher Lunn

Dont know the rights and wrongs of the case but it  looks like a war of attrition to me. I do hope the CPS have got the paperwork filled in correctly as I understand they are being sued for Multi millions by two foreign property tycoons over improper use of search  warrants. The Serious Fraud Office annual budget is only £30M so this one will be one to follow.   

Also see: http://www.lccsa.org.uk/news.asp?ItemID=23546

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03rd Aug 2012 11:47

If they get him for fraud ....

....  I suspect his legal delaying tactics will be forgotten.

If it is true (as reported) that he was inflating his fees in clients' accounts in order to claim tax deductions that funded the true fees, then he is dead in the water. It does seem to be what he is charged with.

I'm as down on official misbehaviour as anyone, having been ruined by LAUTRO 20 years ago, but let's keep this debate in proportion.

 

 

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By pippa
03rd Aug 2012 12:33

it is true in some cases - seen it with my own eyes!

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03rd Aug 2012 12:01

I've just concluded a client's refund claim which had been held up because he was with Lunn & Co before moving to us. HMRC wouldn't release his money because of the accusations against Lunns and it has been a long and difficult struggle to get the money (CIS) repaid. As far as we can seen the inspector has revealed some of the things Lunns are accused of and although they're not imposing penalties on our client it has cost him almost £1k in additional tax.

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03rd Aug 2012 12:19

Christopher Lunn

This one will be interesting!

Anyone who has dealt with investigations knows that HMRC can be "imaginative" and that ultimately a large proportion of the initially requested tax can sometimes be based more on a fishing expedition than logic!

This appears to smack of HMRC trying to save face. Time will tell.

 

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By chatman
03rd Aug 2012 13:44

Deleted to be extra-special-double-mega safe

.

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03rd Aug 2012 14:55

...

COMMENT DELETED.

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03rd Aug 2012 12:28

We just got one client

Few weeks ago we did get a client who was with Lunn & Co. After seven years with them he was not happy but also he was receiving unpleasant letters from HMRC. It seems Lunn & Co was under investigation for a while and HMRC was asking clients to report anything suspicious about their accountant.

I didn't pay attention to the name of the accountants at that time but few days ago when I heard the news I asked my client. I hope we'll not have the same problem as Dave Oalkey's client mentioned earlier.

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03rd Aug 2012 12:33

The quality of HMRC staff

Question.- Has their been a deteriation of the level of service since the combination of Revenue and Customs? The C&E as they were caused me no end of misery and the desire to retire after they lied and freeloaded to make a case of non payment of VAT. They were a total disgrace and many unfit for employment in public office, in my opinion. After 12 years I still await the return of my property, i.e. canvas bags, which they removed with my papers. I can only assume that they were stolen.

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03rd Aug 2012 12:33

Whatever the outcome

this will drag on and cost a fortune which will have to be re-couped from increased investigations on SME's.

At a tangent, just had a penalty notice of over £20k for carelessness with CIS returns for a client. Most of the penalty relates to potential loss of revenue, which is impossible as client (ltd Co) is in refund situation. The reason for bringing this up is that so constantly it would appear that HMRC haven't a clue what they are doing as long as they try to raise more revenue.

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03rd Aug 2012 12:51

Christopher Lunn charged with tax fraud

Will he get a fair trial ?

Surely his Legal Team will pick up on comments posted above on this and other "blogs"

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By pawncob
03rd Aug 2012 12:57

Innocent?

@chatman. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

 

Are you deliberately trying to prejudice the trial?

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By chatman
03rd Aug 2012 13:43

@Pawncob and Trevor Scott

pawncob wrote:

@chatman. Whatever happened to innocent until proven guilty?

Are you deliberately trying to prejudice the trial?

I never said he was guilty; I said I expected him to be convicted. You need to understand that these are quite different things. I have provided HMRC with what I believe to be evidence of a crime, about which I will say no more. I do not think merely saying you think someone will be convicted is considered sufficient to prejudice a trial but just to be extra-special-double-mega safe I will delete my previous comment.

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04th Aug 2012 14:52

Innocent until proven guilty?

Depends how  "proven". If by a bunch of liars and freeloaders and the victim is old and in poor health and unable to properly defend himself they are on a sure winner. Cash for their "target" and a lot of free dry cleaning.

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By chatman
03rd Aug 2012 13:42

He is still not chartered

I still think the "chartered" comment should be removed.

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03rd Aug 2012 13:55

Smoke without fire?

Some good comments being made. I think AW should check their facts about the use of the word "Chartered" and correct if needed.

There is an old saying "there is no smoke without fire", and I suspect that if as we know HMRC are improving their risk assessment strategies and have decided to embark on such a high profile case, they have extremely good grounds to do so.

Whether our legal system arrives at the correct decision, or some highly paid lawyer uses technicalities to successfully defend the case being made, remains to be seen.

I am quite sure however that "proven innocent" in our legal system is not necessarily the same thing as being innocent in the eyes of the "man on the Clapham Omnibus". 

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By tedbuck
03rd Aug 2012 14:47

Smoke without fire

Don't I recall HMRC looking very foolish after pursuing a football manager on the flimsiest of evidence and loosing their case at great expense to the taxpayer?

I have seen them try to turn the facts on their heads to get a result, fortunately they saw sense at the end of the day but obviously the pressure is there in the HMRC ethos.

Seems a pity really as the system used to work fairly well with intelligence being applied. Certainly common sense has been replaced by a tick box list which, generally, is meaningless as I have just found on trying to register a client for VAT. He is in a fairly obvious profession and I have received a list asking, inter alia, exactly what he does.

I am tempted to respond 'waste time answering silly questions from tha VATman', but perhaps better not.

I must write a letter to George Osborne.

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03rd Aug 2012 14:59

Chatman

I have now deleted my post. My concern related to your referencing of said person with the word starting with C and which rhyms with rook.

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03rd Aug 2012 15:37

@tedbuck

It isn't a question of looking foolish. How many Accountants now are even bothered let alone frightened by HMRC. Each failure knocks another nail in their coffin. They have become an irritant rather than a threat. Whatever they do we know they haven't thought it through and without our help they're up a gumtree. HMRC have become like the banks, a farce not to be trusted. (I do not mean the poor buggers who have to carry out the policies of those who think with their wallets).

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03rd Aug 2012 16:52

I am concerned that ....

...they will proceed with matters despite lacking the necessary legal authority or justification. In place of reason they threaten and intimidate. I just wish the Courts would wise up to the situation.

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By 1+1=3
03rd Aug 2012 17:15

He hasn't been charged

Just thought I would add to this comment stream that he hasn't been charged. The CPS have announced the intention to charge under the public law offense of 'Cheating the Public Revenue'. As this cannot be tried in a Magistrates Court (Westminster) but needs to be heard in a Crown Court, the arraignment will be to transfer the case. He will not even be asked to put in a plea at that time.

After the arraignment date, his legal team will been sent all the evidence that HMRC have (both that which they wish to use and that which they dont) and then his legal team get to make their submissions. These submissions could be that their is no offence and explain why, that there is no hope of a fair trial given the coverage and general Kangaroo Court that has been held on the internet, that the evidence has been collected improperly and loads of other bits in between.

What is clear is that the case is far from done and dusted. Let time be the answer not wild speculation.

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06th Aug 2012 09:50

I am confused now

"Chartered accountant Christopher Lunn has been charged with tax fraud and summonsed to appear before Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 15 August"

Picking up on comments above.

Is he chartered? and has he been charged?

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By chatman
06th Aug 2012 10:05

Not Chartered

The Black Knight wrote:

Is he chartered?

No, he isn't.

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06th Aug 2012 10:32

Does it

really matter if he is or ain't. If he's guilty then it still brings our profession in disrepute. Surely Robert would have checked before posting, or is this a copied post. From reading between the lines this looks like a tit for tat situation which will probably lead to enormous costs and mud slinging. Time for the two parties to get together and sort it out.

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