William Maxwell Shand the director of Kent-based security company Uniserve (GB) Limited, has been disqualified for six years for bad book-keeping and failure to pay tax. The disqualification follows an investigation by The Insolvency Service.
Mr Shand, 52, of Sheerness, Kent has given an undertaking to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, that he will not act as a director of a limited company from 31 December 2012.
Uniserve, which provided doormen to events and retailers, went into liquidation on 23 June 2009 owing at least 341,000 to creditors. Prior to this, Mr Shand had failed to keep proper records for the period from 1 December 2007 to 23 June 2009. During this time, withdrawals totalling 169,903 had been made from the companys bank account but with no record of where the money had gone.
Nor did the accounts show whether Uniserves debtors had paid the company the money they owed the company. These book debts had a recovery value of 86,273 but, without records, the liquidator was unable to track down these assets for the benefit of Uniserves creditors.
The lack of records meant HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) had to conduct their own investigation to discover how much tax Uniserve owed. HMRCs investigators unearthed a total tax debt of 306,347. This included the sum of 246,486 from the company under-declaring its VAT liabilities for ten VAT quarters.
Commenting on the disqualification, Mark Bruce, a Chief Examiner at The Insolvency Service said:
Directors who seek an unfair advantage by not paying tax are damaging commercial confidence and harming the UKs reputation as a place to do business.
Furthermore, directors have a crucial responsibility to maintain proper financial records, especially when a company is experiencing financial difficulties.
This investigation uncovered very significant assets and expenses that could not be explained adequately to the liquidator and so prevented him from doing his job properly.
Other directors tempted to follow this path should remember that if they run a business in a way that is detrimental to either its customers or its creditors they will lose the protection afforded by limited liability. The Insolvency Service will investigate them and seek to remove them from the business environment.