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Fraudsters jailed for £29.5m R&D tax relief claim

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Three men were convicted for a fraudulent £29.5m R&D tax relief claim on IT development work that their company didnt undertake. 

4th Dec 2020
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Matthew Sutherland, Mohammed Zeb Zaheer and Mohammed Iqbal Khan were jailed for a total of 21 years following an investigation prompted by a falsified bank statement submitted in January 2016.

Sutherland used his company, Convergica (Clinical Information Systems) Ltd, to claim the £29.5m tax relief against a purported £137m spend on developing an IT healthcare system for two countries in the Middle East.

Kath Doyle, deputy director of HMRC’s fraud investigation service, said: “These men tried to extract an astronomical sum of money by claiming tax relief from a scheme designed to help legitimate companies do work that seeks to make advances in science and technology.

“This wasn’t research and development, it was out and out fraud. HMRC will continue to create a level playing field for law abiding businesses by rooting out the minority who seek to abuse these schemes, as this result clearly shows.”

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Replies (4)

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By Richard Grant
06th Dec 2020 12:07

Am I the only one to rush off and look up their accounts for Y/E's 2015 and 2016? Good reading (for 2-3 seconds). I wonder what the accountants PI insurers have to say?

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Replying to Richard Grant:
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By ljpjones
07th Dec 2020 18:54

I also spent 2-3 seconds looking which is longer than they took to prepare them

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By Justin Bryant
07th Dec 2020 10:51

The only surprise is is that they didn't get away with it. Perhaps if they had been less greedy they would have been in the 99.999% of R&D claim fraudsters that do.

As I have said before, compare & contrast HMRC's approach there to loan charge taxpayers.

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By andrewjlane
07th Dec 2020 19:17

Thank you for quoting my original any answers post. Interesting to note that, on the left of this page, there is a link to Tax Cloud suggesting that “accountants can also benefit from r&d tax credits”. If the general consensus is that the r&d scheme is being exploited, should AW be carrying ads that potentially encourage its own users to take advantage where it is difficult to justify such action...

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