The director of a charity has been disqualified for three-and-a-half years for failing to ensure the company met its tax obligations.

Jo Harvey-Barringer, currently residing in Sussex, was the Chief Executive Officer and a director of Broken Rainbow LGBT Domestic Violence Service (UK) Limited (Broken Rainbow).

Broken Rainbow was incorporated in January 2004 to provide a telephone helpline service to members of the LGBT community who had experienced domestic violence, initially in London but also from premises in Manchester (from 2015).

The charity had various funding streams but relied heavily on funding provided by the Home Office. Home Office funding was not guaranteed and was often delayed causing cash flow issues.

At the start of 2016, following further delays in Home Office funding and a review of the charity?s financial stability it became apparent that payments had not been maintained to HMRC in respect of the charity?s PAYE debt.

In addition, charity Trustees had serious concerns over how it could continue to deliver its services and sought advice from an Insolvency Practitioner.

Following this, the charity was placed into creditors voluntary liquidation on 5 July 2016.
Between December 2014 and May 2016, payments amounting to ?143,671 were made to Jo Harvey- Barringer, at a time when only ?3,490 was paid in respect of the PAYE liability incurred during that period. This included a single payment of ?12,500 made to her on 08 April 2016.

Anthea Simpson, a Chief Investigator with the Investigation and Enforcement Services, of the Insolvency Service said,

This ban should serve as a warning to other directors, particularly to those operating in the charity sector, that Company directors have a duty to ensure businesses meet their legal obligations, including paying taxes.

Deliberate neglect of tax affairs whilst paying others is not a victimless action as it deprives the taxpayer of the funds needed to operate public services and if they put their own needs before them they could be investigated by the Insolvency Service and lose the privilege of limited liability trading.

On 6 June 2018, the Secretary of State accepted a disqualification undertaking from Jo Harvey-Barringer, after she admitted failing to make payments to HMRC, while continuing to make payments to herself and other creditors.

Her ban is effective from 27 June 2018 and lasts for 3.5 years and means that for the duration of the ban, she cannot directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership.