A BUSINESSMAN from South Tyneside avoided making a £50,000 tax payment for more than a year, despite investigators trying to track him down.
Fernando Salcedo was the owner and director of Salce Ltd, which supplied security guards for building sites between 2008 and 2010.
South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard that, because the 64-year-old had run previous companies which went bust – and had not paid VAT – Revenue and Customs officials wanted a £50,931 up-front security payment when he launched the new venture.
But Salcedo, of Eccleston Road, South Shields, didn’t reply to the Inland Revenue’s first request in November 2009, and then ignored the next nine attempts to contact him.
Magistrates have now ordered him to pay £11,311 in compensation to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, and fined him £100 after he admitted nine charges of supplying goods without giving a security when required.
Justin Gibson, prosecuting, said: “Salce Ltd came to the attention of the HMRC’s security team in March 2009 because of his connection to a number of previous failed businesses.
“The law requires a person to provide security if they have previously not paid VAT. In November 2009, the defendant was asked to provide £50,931.”
The Inland Revenue sent notices to Salcedo’s home address, the address where the VAT was registered, in Sergeant Avenue, South Shields, and where the business was registered, in Sunderland Road, Gateshead.
When he didn’t reply to any of the correspondence by January 2010, the case was referred to investigators.
They failed to contact Salcedo until June that year, when they were given his mobile phone number by his ex-wife – but even then, he didn’t call them back.
Mr Gibson added: “In February 2011, 15 months after the initial notice was served, they met him and he said the business had ceased trading in September the previous year.
“He told them he was responsible for all of the paperwork, and said he remembered getting the notice, but admitted he did nothing about it.”
The court heard that the HMRC were looking for £11,311 in compensation to cover the amount of VAT that Salcedo did not pay while his business was up and running.
Geoffrey Forrester, defending, told the court that Salcedo was relying on invoices being paid to him to keep his business running, and couldn’t pay the money to the Inland Revenue until he had that.
He said the economic climate had made it difficult for building sites to survive, and the defendant ended up out of pocket.
Mr Forrester said: “He was in an impossible position.
“He genuinely believed he would get the money owed to him and be able to carry on trading.
“When he was interviewed, he was straightforward with what happened.”