A barrister who failed to pay more than £600,000 in VAT has been convicted for tax fraud following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Rohan Pershad, 44, of London had failed to declare or pay £627,839 of VAT for 12 years, instead spending the cash on two luxury homes in Surrey and Somerset, and private school fees for his children.
According to HMRC Pershad was deregistered for VAT by February 2000 following a history of failure to submit tax returns and to tell HMRC about a change of address.
This meant he was unable legally to trade above the VAT threshold, which was between £54,000 in 2001 and £67,000 in 2008. However, his tax returns showed his income had increased from £85,000 in 2001 to £346,000 in 2008, breaching the VAT registration limit by £279,000.
During this period he continued to use his invalid VAT number on invoices, meaning he was collecting the VAT on his fees pocketing the money for himself.
Donald Toon, director of criminal investigations at HMRC, said: ‘Pershad’s 12 year history of tax evasion was blatant theft from the public purse. He thought he was above the law, but someone in his profession should have known better than to try to cheat the system, as HMRC will not stand by while criminals try to cheat the taxpayer.’