A caterer has been handed a seven-year disqualification after deliberately avoiding paying £500,000 in taxes
Patrick Ekundayo was the sole director of Peaches Limited, a company incorporated in August 2010, which provided catering services and managed social events.
At its most successful trading period, Peaches Limited hosted up to 60 functions per year and took an average of £10,000 to £15,000 per event.
By March 2013, Ekundayo’s company turnover had significantly exceeded the VAT registration threshold and in January 2014 the caterer was advised to register for VAT by his accountant.
However, he failed to register the catering company and this caused the tax authorities to compulsorily register Peaches Limited for VAT in November 2017, backdating registration to March 2013.
Despite the registration, Ekundayo did not submit any tax returns and in July 2018, Peaches Limited went into liquidation, owing more than £500,000 in taxes.
The catering business’ insolvency triggered an investigation by Insolvency Service, which confirmed the caterer’s failure to register for VAT was deliberately non-compliant and he was issued with a penalty of more than £128,000 by the tax authorities.
Enquiries also found that the caterer had underdeclared corporation tax and National Insurance contributions (NICs) of more than £264,000.
On 14 January 2021, the secretary of state for business, accepted an undertaking from Ekundayo, after he did not dispute that he had failed to ensure that Peaches Limited registered for VAT, failed to submit VAT returns and under declared corporation tax and NICs.
Ekundayo’s ban started on 4 February 2021 and he is banned from directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.
Lawrence Zussman, deputy head of insolvent investigations at the Insolvency Service, said: ‘Patrick Ekundayo failed to register his company for VAT and did not submit any VAT returns throughout the company’s lifetime resulting in more than £500,000 in lost taxes to the public purse.
‘This behaviour was deliberately non-compliant and we have now removed him from being involved in any business for a period of seven years.’