Accountant who cheated HMRC out of £120,000 must repay £63,000

Accountant who cheated HMRC out of £120,000 must repay £63,000

February 3, 2021

Accountant who wrote book called ‘The Taxpayer Strikes Back’ on tax avoidance and cheated HMRC out of £120,000 must repay £63,000 by end of April or go to jail

  • Martyn Arthur, 68, arrested for cheating HMRC out of money for public services 
  • He was handed a suspended sentence and ordered to pay back £63,327 by April
  • Judge told the former taxman he is ‘professionally worthless’ after conviction

An accountant who wrote a book on how to beat the taxman and was caught out in a £120,000 fraud has been ordered to repay £63,000 by the end of April – or go to jail.  

Former taxman Martyn Arthur, 68, claimed he ‘knew the system inside out’ when he wrote The Taxpayer Strikes Back in 2009 – but he was arrested for cheating HM Revenue and Customs out of money to pay for public services. 

Arthur, who left a Government job to go into private accountancy, was handed a suspended sentence after being convicted of cheating £120,000 from the public revenue over five years over his own earnings. 

A Proceeds of Crime hearing was told the loss to the HMRC was £88,5000 plus interest of £31,400, making a total of nearly £120,000.

The court heard he had repaid some tax – but the judge ordered him to pay £63,327 by the end of April or serve nine months imprisonment in default. 

Former taxman Martyn Arthur (pictured), 68, claimed he ‘knew the system inside out’ when he wrote The Taxpayer Strikes Back in 2009 – but he was arrested for cheating HM Revenue and Customs out of money to pay for public services

Sentencing, Judge Fitton said: ‘You are a man who has destroyed your own reputation. You are now professionally worthless. 

‘That, you have brought about. You are now convicted as a cheat and a fraudster.’ 

Prosecutor Anna Midgley said Arthur worked as an accountant throughout his career after starting out with the Inland Revenue – now HMRC – before becoming a self-employed tax adviser.

Ms Midgley said: ‘He submitted inaccurate tax returns in order to avoid paying the tax that was due.’

He covered his tracks by ‘deliberately keeping incomplete records, using multiple accounts and moving money between them.’

Pictured: The Taxpayer Strikes Back

Cardiff Crown Court heard Arthur’s behaviour ‘went from uncooperative to deliberately hostile and aggressive in a bid to put off investigators.’

Prosecutors said he sent so many emails he made the inquiry far more complicated and time-consuming.

The court also heard how Arthur was declared bankrupt in 2008 and disqualified from being a company director but continued to run one of his companies in his wife’s name.

Arthur, of Newton, Porthcawl, denied two counts of cheating public revenue but was found guilty following a four-week trial.

The court heard he had been drinking half a bottle of spirits a day since he was 18. 

Arthur said: ‘I’ve been in denial but I’ve had time to reflect. It’s time for me to make changes to my life.’ 

‘I am very sorry. I was plain stupid. I am genuinely ashamed to find myself in this position. I recognise where I went wrong.’

Judge Michael Fitton said he ‘bombarded’ HMRC with emails ‘to make yourself such a pain for them to deal with, you hoped they would regard you as not worth it and give up and go away’. 

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