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VAT Fraud Finally Crushed as Those Responsible go to Prison

VAT fraud is an unfortunate fact of life in the UK today.  While most people do all they can to stay within the rules and ensure their businesses comply with all legislation relating to VAT, some people go out of their way to flout them.

VAT fraud is taken very seriously however, and I was heartened recently to read about the culmination of Operation Devout.  This was the operation that sought to put a stop to a VAT fraud which totalled more than £37 million pounds.

As a result of the successful outcome of this operation, some 21 people have received prison sentences for laundering.  The whole operation focused on what is known as missing trader carousel fraud.  This basically means that goods – in this case mainly computer chips – are bought from the EU and sold via a string of traders, forming a carousel around which VAT is added.  The goods were bought VAT free and exported once more at the end of the process, while the appropriate amount of VAT was added on.

The sentences I read about that were imposed on these people ranged from several months to several years.  One fraudster is still on the run and will be sent to prison when he is found and arrested.

This has to be good news for HMRC however, as it has smashed one of the biggest cases of VAT fraud ever discovered.  I think it also sends a very clear message to those who are considering trying to defraud HMRC in the future – it is simply never worth it.

If you wish to consult with us here at St Matthew about any aspect of VAT or the VAT threshold, please use the links above.


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