Three directors of an internet trading company based in Liverpool have been disqualified from acting as company directors for over 20 years for filing incorrect VAT returns.
The disqualifications follow an investigation by the Public Interest Unit (North), part of the Insolvency Service.

Brett Jones (54), Andrew ODwyer (38) and Loretta Jones (49), the directors of B.L.A. Trading Ltd - which sold small electrical goods on Ebay have given undertakings to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) not to promote, manage, or be directors of a limited company.

In giving their undertakings, the directors did not dispute that they
caused B.L.A Trading Ltd to submit incorrect VAT returns to HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) . Mr Jones is banned for nine years, Mr ODwyer for eight years and Mrs Jones for 3 and-a-half years.

The company was placed into creditors voluntary liquidation on 27 January 2011 with an estimated deficiency of 311,767. The investigation found that BLA submitted incorrect VAT returns to HMRC for the VAT periods ending 31 December 2008 to 30 June 2010.

The investigation also found that the company failed in its statutory obligation to submit a VAT return for the VAT period 1 July 2010 to 30 September 2010 when VAT was owing.

The VAT returns for the VAT periods ending 31 December 2008 to 30 June 2010 declared VAT due on sales of 3,140 whereas the correct figure that BLA ought to have accounted to HMRC was 303,591.

Commenting on the disqualification, Official Receiver Ken Beasley said:

Mr Jones and Mr ODwyer caused significant loss to HMRC by failing to ensure that B.L.A Trading Limited dealt with its VAT affairs properly. In doing so their conduct fell below that which is expected of directors of a limited company.
EBay traders are subject to the same VAT regime as those who do not trade on the internet, and those that do not handle their VAT affairs correctly may become subject to an HMRC investigation.
The Insolvency Service has strong enforcement powers and we will not hesitate to use them to remove dishonest or reckless directors from the business environment as has been demonstrated in this case.