The director of timber merchant Forestsale Limited has been disqualified from acting as a director for 10 years.
Following an investigation by the Insolvency Service, Stephen Charles Aldous, was banned for failing to keep adequate accounts and causing the company to trade in breach of VAT regulations.
Mark Bruce, chief examiner at the Insolvency Service, said: “Directors who seek an unfair advantage over their competitors by not paying tax should not expect to get away with it.”
Forestsale went into liquidation on 15 June 2011 owing £706,460 to creditors, of which £451,433 was owed to HMRC.
The Insolvency Service’s investigation found that due to a lack of accounting records covering the period from 30 June 2009 to 15 June 2011, it was not possible to identify the recipients of cheques worth a total of £401,103.
Also unexplained was the true position of stock at the date of liquidation and how much VAT the company owed to HMRC.
Further investigation showed that the company deregistered for VAT at 1 October 2003, at a time when its turnover exceeded the registration threshold.
Following an inspection by HMRC, it was discovered that between 1 October 2003 and 15 June 2011 Forestsale had sales of close to £4 million – the company failed to account for VAT owed on these sales, resulting in an unpaid tax debt of £450,000.
Mark Bruce said: “Aldous displayed a cynical attitude to the payment of tax and nearly £500,000 has been lost to the taxpayer. This money could have paid for essential public services.
“The volume of unexplained transactions over its trading lifetime was highly suspicious.”
Aldous gave an undertaking that he will not act as a director of a limited company from 26 April 2013 until April 2023.