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Bark & Co Successfully Appeal HMRC Assessments on £22.7m Alleged Duty & VAT Case

4 Apr 2013

Bark & Co Solicitors representing Mr Gurdip Singh Dhadwal successfully appealed assessments raised by HMRC following their allegations that he was party to an excise duty and VAT fraud totalling £22.7 million. This matter before the First-Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) and the High Court (Chancery and Administrative) was rejected on all of HMRC’s pleaded grounds and costs were awarded to Mr Dhadwal on an indemnity basis.

The assessments were brought under the Excise Goods (Holding, Movement, Warehousing and REDS) Regulations 1992 upon allegations that

1.      Mr Dhadwal either imported the excise goods or he caused the irregularity that took the goods past the duty point without payment (long-firm fraud). OR

2.      Mr Dhadwal was involved in a fraud by which payment of duty on alcoholic drinks was dishonestly evaded by the importation of those goods which were dutiable goods and which were not legitimately entered under any duty deferment regime and by which payment of VAT was evaded on their onward sale (long-firm fraud).

In the First-Tier Tribunal (Tax Chamber) HMRC’s flawed submissions centred on their belief that several computers were used to facilitate the fraud. However, through our extensive analysis of HMRC’s appointed computer expert’s submissions we successfully proved that, at the very least, he had manipulated evidence to further HMRC’s claim and was subsequently withdrawn from the proceedings upon discovery. Upon the reassessment of the computer analysis no evidence linking Mr Dhadwal to any fraudulent activity was found. The other pleaded grounds were also based on unfounded circumstantial evidence and misguided presumptions by the HMRC officer.

Before the High Court, Bark & Co successfully appealed a summary judgment against Mr Dhadwal. This was consented to due to HMRC refusal to withdraw Mr Dhadwal’s freezing order that he has been subject to for 7 years, despite the evidence used to obtain the freezing found to be manipulated and without sound basis.

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