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Director gets six-year ban over £6m undeclared tax

02 September 2013 12:30

Insolvency Service

Jonathan Edward Shawyer, the director of Sigma Payroll Services Limited based in Brentwood, Essex, has been disqualified from acting as a company director for six years for paying £6m less tax than was owed to the taxman.

The disqualification, which started on 19 August 2013, follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Mr Shawyer, 45, of Brickenden, Hertfordshire gave an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills that he will not act as a director of a limited company until August 2019.

Sigma Payroll Services Limited entered voluntary liquidation on 23 June 2010. The investigation found that Mr Shawyer had allowed the company to declare less VAT liability to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) than it owed, in breach of its legal obligations to submit accurate returns and payments.

The company had submitted tax returns for April 2009 – March 2010 declaring a total VAT liability of £497,341 which it then paid in full. However HMRC assessments, based on the company’s bank activity, showed this was £5,920,648 less than was expected.


Commenting on the disqualification, Mark Bruce, a Chief Examiner in the Insolvency Service, said:

“When companies submit incorrect tax returns on time and pay the amounts due immediately, it may take some considerable time for the tax authorities to discover what is really due. This was such a case where nearly £6m in tax was undeclared.

“Such behaviour introduces unfair competition in the market and robs hardworking taxpayers of resources needed to run public services.

“The Insolvency Service rightly takes such blatant abuse of the tax regime seriously and worthy of a significant disqualification period.”

Notes to Editors

  1. Sigma Payroll Services Limited was incorporated on 17 March 2009 and went into voluntary liquidation on 23 June 2010.
  2. Mr Shawyer gave an undertaking on 29 July 2013 to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills not to be a company director for six years. The disqualification started on 19 August 2013.
  3. Disqualification undertakings were introduced in April 2001 and are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Without specific permission of a court, a person with a company director’s disqualification, including undertakings, cannot act as a director of a company; take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company, be a liquidator or administrator of a company, or be a receiver or manager of a company’s property.
  4. Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions can be found at: http://www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency/Companies/insolvent-companies .
  5. The Insolvency Service administers the insolvency regime investigating all compulsory liquidations and individual insolvencies (bankruptcies) through the Official Receiver, to establish why they became insolvent. The agency also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession; deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures; assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees; provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds; and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice. Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service is available from www.bis.gov.uk/insolvency .
  6. You can now subscribe to get e-mail alerts from the Insolvency Service. To subscribe, go to our website The Insolvency Service | BIS and you will see a button to “sign up for email alerts and newsletters”, or click on the link below and follow the instructions: https://public.govdelivery.com/accounts/UKBIS/subscriber/new .
  7. The Insolvency Service is on twitter and you can follow us here @insolvencygovuk

Contact Information

Ade Daramy
Name
Ade Daramy
Job Title
Mr
Division
Insolvency Service
Phone
020 7596 6187
Fax
Mobile
Email
ade.daramy@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk
Kathryn Montague
Name
Kathryn Montague
Job Title
Division
Phone
0207 674 6910
Fax
Mobile
Email
kathryn.montague@insolvency.gsi.gov.uk