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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 71536
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Hello My husband is self employed,with a turnover of around

Customer Question

My husband is self employed,with a turnover of around 150k
We decided to split the earnings between me (his wife) and my mother, who is no longer in the country.
We continued to do so for the last 3 years.
Now we are getting divorced and have to go to the court to resolve financial matters as he is refusing to pay reasonable spousal maintenance as we have 2 small children and I can't go to work.
I am worried that this will come out in a court and we will be prosecuted.
I am part qualified accountant, which is even worse, because I was aware of what I was doing and of course it was me who completed all of the returns.
I accept my fault. Yet, am worried of the implications. Would you be able to advice if court would turn us in to a tax man and also what possible implicatios there would be- financialy and worst of all imprisonment...
THank you
Submitted: 3 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 3 years ago.
Thank you for your question. My name is ***** ***** I will try to help with this.
It is possible that a court could refer this. It is fair to say that the chances are not very high. Courts hear evidence of lots of tax evasion all the time and don't act upon it. You cannot rely on that, of course, but it is the position.
If it does come out then the HMRC would investigate. We both know what they are like. The difficulty here is that this does amount to fraud rather than just making use of tax benefits. You are perfectly entitled to create tax efficiency but you seem to be describing ghost employees which is not lawful.
Whether or not you would be prosecuted is another matter. I am primarily a criminal lawyer and I have only ever once seen one tax fraud which is fairly small when you consider the volume that goes on.
There are lesser taxation offences that can be used. They do not generally lead to imprisonment and obviously community orders are unsuitable for most of the people who commit these offences. The real impact is that usually you cannot be a company director, practice as an account depending on the view of your professional body etc.
The chances are that nothing will come of it but there is an outside risk.
Can I clarify anything for you?