High profile accountant convicted of £6m tax evasion

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An accountant has been convicted for evading more than £6m in tax with clients having to pay a further £20m in tax and interest.

The Financial Times reports Sussex-based accountancy firm Christopher Lunn & Co had more than 7,000 clients, including many from the media and entertainment sectors.

Dennis Christopher Carter Lunn, known as Christopher, was arrested in 2010 after the premises were searched.

HM Revenue & Customs said it had found evidence that accountancy fees had been inflated, and that fraudulent use of trading losses were designed to help Lunn and his clients evade paying all the tax owed.

Lunn was charged with six counts of cheating the public revenue in 2013. He was acquitted on two charges, but at a retrial Lunn has been found guilty of the remaining four counts.

Clients have been contacted by HMRC to say their tax returns may be incorrect due to reasons such as excessive expense claims, private spending being classed as a business expense, and false declaration of self-employed status.

HMRC says clients were unaware of Lunn’s actions and have been encouraged to come forward to pay any tax and interest due if they have not done so already.

HMRC director-general of enforcement and compliance Jennie Granger says: “Lunn believed he could make up fraudulent claims to benefit both himself and his clients.

“I hope this result serves as a reminder to those who try to cheat the public purse — particularly those in the tax profession — that no one is above the law and that HMRC will relentlessly pursue tax evaders to bring them before the courts.”

Lunn will be sentenced on 6 January.