The director of a South Wales-based firm which installed accessible ramps for a number of clients, including rehabilitation centres, banks and retailers, has been given a seven-year disqualification by HMRC’s insolvency service for providing inaccurate information to the government body.

An investigation by the Insolvancy Service found that Lyndon Porretta, 47, from Newport, had understated the amount of tax he was due on 14 VAT returns submitted between December 2011 and September 2015 by a staggering £521,814.

He was then expected to pay total VAT and penalties of £743,464, which he was unable to do, instead entering the company into voluntary liquidation in 2016. Porretta did not dispute the findings of the Service, and has been handed a seven-year ban from the Secretary of State effective as of today.

The disqualifications means he is unable to act as the director of a company, take part in or manage a company or limited liability, or be a receiver or a company’s property.

Wendy Jones, deputy head of the Insolvency Service’s Insolvent Investigations, said:

“Mr Porretta gave false information to HMRC about the VAT owed by the company thus obtaining a significant financial advantage compared to other companies filing correct returns.

“Unlike normal trade creditors, HMRC relies on the taxpayer to disclose the correct amount that is owed to them, so a failure to file accurate returns puts them at a disadvantage to other creditors.

“Deliberately understating sales in order to reduce the VAT to be paid to HMRC is dishonest. This can also result in understated company profits leading to underpayments of Corporation Tax. Both give a company an unfair advantage over competitors. Taking action against Mr Porretta is a warning to all directors to seriously consider and ensure they perform their duties and obligations.”

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