A restaurateur who ran a business in Hove, East Sussex, has been disqualified for six years, for under-declaring his tax payments.

Emad Abdolkhani, 31, was the sole director of Code Hove Limited, which traded as the Barcode restaurant. This stopped trading in June 2018 and HMRC then issued a winding-up petition against the company on 30 October 2019.

The company liquidation then led to an investigation by the Insolvency Service into Abdolkhani’s actions while running the business and it was found he had under-declared tax payments that were due by some £60,000.

The Insolvency Service said that some £200,000 in outstanding tax payments, penalty charges, and interest are now due by the business. It was also found that Abdolkhani had not recorded his company’s sales accurately and so under-declared the amount of tax due in returns from September 2016.

The Insolvency Service statement said the Secretary of State for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy had accepted an undertaking from Abdolkhani after he did not dispute that he failed to ensure that the company submitted accurate VAT returns.

The disqualification is from 25 August 2021 and Abdolkhani is now banned from acting as a director or directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation, or management of a company.

Dangers in Delay

Company Debt director, Simon Renshaw, said: “This case demonstrates both that HMRC will act swiftly to wind a business up and also that the Insolvency Service will conduct thorough investigations if they suspect malpractice. Many businesses, particularly in hospitality, have been under enormous pressure because of the pandemic.

However, if your tax and other creditor bills are mounting up, then seek guidance as a matter of urgency. A ‘Time to Pay’ negotiation with HMRC may well provide the necessary breathing space to recover – failing to act though, will only worsen matters and potentially result in disqualification, damaging publicity, and losing the shelter of limited liability.”