Avoidance  

Director banned over role in tax avoidance scheme

Director banned over role in tax avoidance scheme

A payroll services boss has been banned for orchestrating a multi-million pound tax avoidance scheme.

Leicester-based Scott Rooney was appointed sole director of Magnetic Push Limited in February 2017.

The company provided payroll services, trading from an office in Liverpool, and was previously known as The Knowledgeshares Limited and My PSU Subcontractors Limited.

Magnetic Push operated for just 11 months before it went into liquidation and was voluntarily wound up. 

But the liquidator told the Insolvency Service that Rooney refused to co-operate and failed to provide the company’s books and records.

The Insolvency Service launched an investigation and found that Magnetic Push was playing an active role as an umbrella company in a wider tax avoidance scheme.

Rooney had declared a VAT liability of just £609 but the tax authorities claimed more than £4m from Magnetic Push in the liquidation. 

The company also failed to declare PAYE and National Insurance contributions.

The lack of books and records meant investigators could not establish genuine company expenses from almost £37m that had left the company account between February and December 2017, nor the reasons behind the company’s failure.

Rooney has now been disqualified as a company director for 11 years, meaning he is banned from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.

Martyn Pettitt, deputy head of insolvent investigations at the Insolvency Service, said: “Scott Rooney’s significant ban shows how important it is for company directors to keep adequate books and records, and the measures that can be taken if they do not take this responsibility seriously.

“Directors like Scott Rooney cannot avoid scrutiny or sanctions when operating within a tax avoidance scheme by placing their company into insolvency and failing to co-operate and we will not hesitate to seek a ban where it is appropriate to do so.”

amy.austin@ft.com

What do you think about the issues raised by this story? Email us on FTAletters@ft.com to let us know