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Carbon company granted 4 week reprieve 23 January 2012

An international carbon credit trading company was today given until 20 February to resolve its dispute with HMRC over alleged VAT and Corporation Tax non-payment.

At the High Court, Cheshire-based Carbon Harvesting Corporation called on Mr Registrar Nicholls to give it more time in order to resolve a dispute with the Revenue which has dragged on since 2008.

Speaking in court, Mr Registrar Nicholls, said the petition originally filed by HMRC noted debt of £116,000 as at 28 November 2011, and asked whether the company was intending to dispute this.

However, Michael Foster, director of the company said the debt had been calculated merely on an estimate and said he had already engaged with the Revenue’s enforcement office prior to today’s hearing.

In June 2010, Foster was arrested and later released without charge on allegations of bribery following an investigation by human rights NGO Global Witness. It followed the company’s proposal to rent a proportion of Liberian forest for carbon offsetting purposes.

In court today, Foster said: “The whole issue now is over the assessment. I have given a witness statement. I have also shown proof of postage and filed all the accounts. I am fully disputing the debt.

“The debt was made up from two items: an estimation of corporation tax and there is also an element of VAT based on an estimate. We have contacted the enforcement office and asked for the Revenue to verify the assessment.”

Counsel for HMRC acknowledged that it was impossible for the matter to be resolved today, while Mr Registrar Nicholls called on the company to take advice.

Supporting evidence for Foster’s claims must now be filed by 30 January 2011 while petitioner evidence in reply should be filed by 13 February 2011.

The necessary listing requirements should be completed by 20 February with the next review to take place at the first available date after this.



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