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‘My home is on the line’, tax debt man tells court

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: May 29, 2014

27/05/14 snatch pic at court of Stephen Spooner - Burton, Burton snatch pic at court of Stephen Spooner

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A BRANSTON man who was left owing the tax man thousands of pounds after starting his own business told a court he fears he could lose his home.

Stephen Spooner, 51, of Birkdale Avenue, appeared at Burton Magistrates’ Court.

He pleaded guilty to carrying out work without paying the required VAT, known as security.

A security payment is required when HMRC has reason to believe that a person might fail to comply with their VAT obligations. Spooner was asked to pay a security payment of thousands of pounds. It is a criminal offence to carry out work if the payment has not been made.

Andrew Bodger, prosecuting, told the court: “The defendant was a 
director of Masterfen Limited since March 2010. By July 2012 the company had accrued VAT debt of £2,000 and no tax returns had been submitted.

“In July 2012 windows and doors were being fitted all over the country. He continued trading.”

Further work carried out by the company earned them £28,235, which amounted to £5,646.96 in unpaid VAT.

The company went into liquidation last year.

Spooner, who represented himself, said: “I started my own business in March 2010. I’m not a business man but the opportunity came along and I grabbed it. Before I knew it things were taking off and it grew bigger overnight. Unfortunately one of my main clients went under owing me £140,000.

“I have gone through hell and have been made bankrupt. I have lost everything through this business, it all became too much.

“We are hanging on to our house.”

Magistrates ordered him to pay a total of £5,635 in compensation and court costs, which must be paid at a rate of £200 a month.

Spooner told the court that he still owed thousands of pounds relating to the business. He said it was impossible for him to ‘keep throwing money out’.

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