Portsmouth pub landlords fined for not paying VAT

The Admiral Drake pub in Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth
The Admiral Drake pub in Kingston Crescent, Portsmouth
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LANDLORDS have been fined for failing to pay a security fund after falling behind on their VAT.

Simon and Karen Hughes, who run the Admiral Drake in Portsmouth, appeared at Portsmouth Magistrates Court after being charged with supplying goods/services without giving a security when required.

The couple were in arrears on paying their VAT and were told to pay £49,411 in lieu to HM Revenue and Customs.

They were asked to stop trading until they paid the sum but did not and were brought into court.

Speaking to The News after the court case, Mr Hughes, 50, said: ‘We are finding times a little bit hard and it did not help us being put in this situation.

‘They knew we were in arrears and couldn’t pay the VAT but they then went on to tell us to pay a security fund. If we can’t pay VAT how were we meant to pay £49,000.’

The court heard from prosecutor Graham Heath that it was an unusual case for the court to deal with.

‘Both of the defendants run the pub but they seem to not have submitted the costs of VAT between January 24 and February 8,’ he said.

‘It appears to have occurred over a long period of time.

‘A notice of requirement was given which says if the VAT is not paid or cannot be paid, HM Revenue and Customs can demand a front-up payment to cover future costs of VAT.

‘This would allow the business to continue and allows them to pay VAT in due course.

‘The initial sum was £49,411.’

Mr and Mrs Hughes, 47, both pleaded guilty to the offence and representing themselves, Mr Hughes said: ‘They wanted us to pay that in lieu of our VAT.

‘We weren’t making enough money to pay the VAT so we couldn’t find the funds to pay that £49,000.’

During the hearing, Mr Heath said HM Revenue and Customs had come up with a compensation amount of £6,811 which would be appropriate for the couple to pay.

Chair magistrate Anthony Young sentenced the pair, who had no previous convictions, to a 12-month conditional discharge.

They were ordered to pay £6,811 in compensation, a £15 victim surcharge and £85 court costs.

Mr Young said: ‘We have taken into account your guilty plea and total lack of previous convictions.’