Risk & Economy » Tax » Bond House responds to verdict

HM Revenue & Customs ‘should never have been able’ to sting unwitting
businesses involved in carousel fraud chains by denying them VAT, the company at
the centre of the case has said.

Ian Prescott, founding partner and director of Bond House Systems based in
Castleford, West Yorkshire, said: ‘For the past three years we have been forced
to cease trading after the withdrawal of a VAT refund of £13.2m. We had to make
20 people redundant, myself and the other business directors and their families
have suffered terribly as a result of the Customs’ actions.

‘Our advisor, David Sweeting, and the Leeds-based Bentley Jennison VAT
consultancy team have defended our innocence and our rights under the EU VAT
Directive. It has been a long and painful battle, which the team has most ably
and effectively fought and we are satisfied with the outcome, although Customs
should never have been able to act in this way.’

Sweeting, head of VAT consultancy at accountancy firm Bentley Jennison,
himself added: ‘To combat a fraud that has been estimated at costing the British
taxpayer between £1.1bn and £1.9bn, HMRC took a cruel and punishing stance for
innocent business people.

‘Their view that no VAT rebates should be paid to any company innocent or
otherwise, that is part of a chain of supply involving a missing trader or
hijacked VAT number, simply penalises innocent traders for the actions of
criminals and for the failure of Customs to identify the fraudsters.

‘This landmark decision will affect hundreds of businesses across the UK, as
well as all those overseas companies that have traded with the UK and suffered
the effects of this unjust law. The decision gives industry more confidence in
the judicial system because a sweeping injustice on a massive scale has been