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Scandal-hit Apostle Accounting set to fold


Police inquiries are underway into Apostle Accounting’s recent tax dealings as its owner continues to plead innocence.

26th Oct 2023
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Apostle Accounting, the Suffolk-based firm at the centre of a tax scandal in which hundreds of businesses were left in debt to HMRC, has been wound up this month. 

First reported in the London Gazette, the official public record, the firm is now in the hands of Leeds-based liquidators DFW Associates, after a voluntary liquidation resolution was put forward on 17 October. 

Aggrieved clients

Apostle Accounting, founded by Zoe Goodchild in 2012, was unceremoniously pulled into the limelight earlier this year after a number of aggrieved former clients spoke out against the firm and its business practices. 

Originally offering clients the opportunity to recover tax paid based on work-related expenses, with many receiving payouts, HMRC soon issued notices that the claims had been made incorrectly and that the rebates be repaid, leaving some with five-figure tax bills. 

As more businesses spoke up, it became clear that hundreds of former Apostle clients were left with hefty tax bills after discovering their rebate claims made through Goodchild’s firm were bogus. This has led to an estimated £1.8m needing to be paid to HMRC.

Former client Lee Osborne, one of the leading figures in collating evidence against Apostle Accounting, found himself paying back £21,000, which includes the £8,000 deducted by Goodchild’s firm. “Many of the affected people, including myself, feel like they have done 12 rounds in the ring,” Osborne said. 

Since the news broke, the scandal-hit firm later became the focus of an episode of BBC’s Rip-Off Britain, as well as being picked up by various MPs in a letter to HMRC’s Jim Harra. 

A police inquiry by the East Region Special Operations Unit is also underway, however, Apostle has continued to deny any wrongdoing in the matter.

HMRC not innocent

The news regarding Apostle Accounting soon made its way to the AccountingWEB community. However, while many condemned the actions of the firm, other Any Answers members noted that, while Apostle’s dealings were wrong, HMRC’s lack of reform and multiple missed chances were equally to blame. 

“HMRC is surely at fault here, issuing large repayments with no checks and then charging penalties when finally catch up. Apostle has bagged a lot of money for themselves with no comeback – very wrong indeed,” wrote pauld.

Fellow member Samantha20 added an equally scathing reply: “It is all HMRC’s fault. This sort of scam has been going on for years and they do nothing about it.”


Replies (9)

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By B-free2016
27th Oct 2023 11:51

Mazars should be next on this list!!!

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By sherodwilliams
27th Oct 2023 13:41

In a separate article today on the Economic Crime & Corporate Transparency Act coming into force, it is at long last good to see an intent that Companies House might actually become more than just a collection point for accounts. I have on several occasions asked Companies House to explain how they can simply accept accounts without any checks being made on fundamental issues such as "Why doesn't the Balance Sheet balance ?", "Why are Directors listed in the accounts when the filing record does not show them ever being appointed ?"How can the share capital in the accounts be more than in a confirmation statement filed 6 months later without any other documentation having been filed?" It shouldn't take a genius to look at the filed accounts for Apostle and compare 2022 with the 2021 figures. In 2021 the accounts as filed show creditors being added to current assets ! - look at the notes for debtors and creditors and disclosures are all over the place. Add to that the capital has reduced by over £700k - presumably in dividends extracted . Then we see Ms Goodchild in April 2023 become the Director of LSHE Holdings Ltd which swaps out the shares in Apostle for 100 shares in LSHE. No red flags on any of this within a public agency. Having had to previously pick up the pieces from clients of firms like this & having dealt with Code of Practice 9 investigations resulting from shocking & wrong advice given to company directors and individuals the answer just for once lies in better regulation of those involved in giving advice. In two cases which I have had to deal with, HMRC have subsequently withdrawn 64-8 authorisations from firms involved. Why do we have a system whereby solicitors are subject to the Law Society & The SRA but literally anyone can call themselves an accountant, trade from their spare bedroom and be answerable to no-one unless they get caught?

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Replying to sherodwilliams:
28th Oct 2023 13:39

Apostle Accounting Ltd's October 2022 balance sheet shows a MINUS 28k NBV for motor vehicles! Says it all about that company.

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Replying to AS44NG:
By Southwestbeancounter
30th Oct 2023 14:48

Oh yes!

I'd looked at the accounts but only a cursory glance at the balance sheet; Once you look a little further those accounts are dire!!

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By possep
31st Oct 2023 14:00

The serious fraud squad (if it still exists) or similar should be all over this. The folk that got repayments went along with it. £21k repayment means £47k of spurious expenses that the taxpayer should have never claimed or chose not to question. Deserve all they get.

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Replying to possep:
By maz444
18th May 2024 15:45

No,No,No they do not deserve it. I have been involved with some of these people, in an advisory capacity only, and they are naive, nothing more. They are employees and have never had to personally deal with their own tax. If I was to tell one or two of my clients that they are entitled to £5,ooo tax refund I'm pretty sure they wouldn't question it because they trust me. This woman obviously gained their trust.

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By MikeyMad
05th Nov 2023 07:51

bbc got the numbers wrong, for all the data that the guy collected it was approx 800 people and between them they are being demanded by hmrc to pay approx £3.5m, the evidence of at very least professional negligence is stacking up, and I am told Ersou are still looking into all of it, these people have learnt a very expensive lesson on trust and their taxes

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By MikeyMad
20th Dec 2023 14:21

there is a survey now that has started to try and get the conversation escalated

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