Three tax dodging directors have been handed a combined 24-year ban and had their businesses wound up for defrauding the public purse. Glenn Andrew Delaney, Robert John Shillaker and Gareth Donald Onions, the directors of three connected marketing service companies, have been disqualified from acting as directors for breaching an existing disqualification and failing to pay the Crown.
An investigation by the Insolvency Service found the marketing chiefs had allowed their companies to trade to the detriment of HM Revenue & Customs. The directors failed to ensure the companies complied with their statutory obligations to make returns and payments to HMRC in respect of PAYE and VAT. The result is £976,640 of unpaid tax.
The charge sheet
Following the Insolvency Service’s investigation, Mr Delaney (62), the director of DSPS Realisations Limited, a company which provided marketing services and traded in Solihull, has given an undertaking not to act as a company director for eight years.
Mr Shillaker (59), the director of DSPS Field Marketing Limited and Sure Connections Limited, two more Solihull-based marketing companies, has been banned from working as the director of a company for six years.
Mr Onions (61) had already been disqualified from acting as a director until 2018, after failing to ensure the now debunked Deltaworld Limited paid its taxes to HMRC. Mr Onions paid a high price for breaching his ban and received a further 10 year disqualification for his part in the running of the three companies (DSPS Realisations Limited, DSPS Field Marketing Limited and Sure Connections Limited). The two bans will run concurrently, preventing Mr Onion’s from taking part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation of a company or limited liability partnership until 2025.
A failure to comply with their statutory obligations
The Insolvency Service investigation proved that Mr Onions had indeed breached the restrictions of his disqualification by acting as a director of all three marketing companies between 04 March 2011 and 24 April 2013.
Mr Delaney, the sole director of DSPS Realisations Limited, was found to have facilitated the breach of Mr Onions’ ban by allowing him to act as a director of his company. Mr Shillaker was found to be guilty of the same misconduct in relation to DSPS Field Marketing and Sure Connections Limited, two companies of which he was the sole director.
The investigation also revealed that the three directors had failed to ensure the companies met their statutory requirements in respect of VAT and PAYE, resulting in a £976,640 liability to HMRC.
DSPS Realisations Limited entered into administration on 31 July 2012; DSPS Field Marketing Limited and Sure Connections Limited went into liquidation on 24 April. The three companies left a combined detriment to creditors of £1.67million.
Sending a clear message to directors
Commenting on the court’s decision to disqualify the trio, Robert Clarke, a group leader at the Insolvency Service, said: “The combined 24 years of undertakings agreed, in this case, sends a clear message to other directors that they should not act as a director when they are not allowed to do so.
“Those who act as directors when disqualified, or allow others to continue to run limited companies whilst disqualified will be investigated. The result could be the significant loss of the protection afforded by limited liability.”
The disqualification order means that without the specific permission of the court, the disqualified cannot:
- Act as a director of a company;
- Take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership;
- Be a receiver of a company’s property.
It is critical that directors meet their statutory duties to file annual returns at Companies House as a failure to do so can have serious consequences as is demonstrated in this case. Failing to pay HMRC taxes can also be judged to be an offence and in some cases, the debt penalties can be transferred to the directors personally.
Directors should be under no illusion that failing to pay HMRC significant amounts of tax is taken very seriously and often met with legal action to wind up the company or a seizure of assets.