Courier director struck off over £383k VAT bill

The boss of a Surrey-based courier company has been banned from acting as a director for failure to file accounts and VAT debts of £383,830

Andreia de Souza of Byfleet was a director of UK Brazil Courier Limited, which failed to maintain adequate accounting records from August 2017 to November 2018 at which point the company was put into liquidation after a winding up petition. The company was first incorporated in July 2013.

The Insolvency Service has issued director bans to a number of individuals involved with the courier business. De Souza has been banned for seven years, while fellow directors Sabrina Tolani Cordeiro and Kaique Silva Xavier received bans of four years each.

The absence of accounting records meant it was impossible for the liquidators to establish the turnover or to identify a number of payments made for office rent, vehicle hire of vans, drivers and transfers to connected companies.

There were also serious problems with VAT compliance and UK Brazil Courier went bust owing HMRC a total VAT bill of £383,830.

This related to VAT due from 1 August 2016 to liquidation resulting in estimated VAT liabilities of at least £383,830.

UK Brazil Courier Limited was incorporated on 10 July 2013 and on 29 April 2014 completed VAT registration paperwork for HMRC stating an estimated turnover of £100,000 per annum.

Between June 2014 and March 2018, VAT returns were not submitted resulting in assessments being raised by HMRC. On 13 June 2018, VAT returns were submitted for the periods ending June 2014, September 2014 and September 2016 to March 2018 inclusive, resulting in assessments of £7,133 being withdrawn.

Returns filed for periods up to and including December 2017 were nil returns. The return filed for period ending 31 March 2018 resulted in a liability of £383,830.

A VAT return report confirmed that this return covered the period from 1 August 2016 to 31 March 2018, not the single quarter period. Company bank statements showed that between 1 September 2016 and 28 November 2018 no payments were made to HMRC in respect of VAT.

HMRC VAT ledgers showed only one £308 payment being made in respect of VAT on 16 June 2017.

However, the company was trading strongly over this period and bank statements showed that between 1 April 2017 and 28 November 2018, £1,842,592 was deposited into the company bank account from its sole client, of which £401,406 was paid to vehicle hire/rental/lease suppliers, £5,970 was paid with reference to office rent of a connected company and £118,140 was paid directly to the same connected company.

Company bank statements revealed that between 25 May 2017 and 17 October 2018 De Souza received £34,387 either directly or indirectly. In addition to this between 1 April 2017 and 28 November 2018 other personal expenditure from the company bank account totalled £76,823.

By 2018, the company faced an HMRC winding up petition.

At cessation of trade HMRC was UK Brazil Courier’s largest creditor with a liability of at least £383,830 while other creditors were owed £133,610. 

The director bans came into force on 4 January 2024.

Sara White |Editor, Accountancy Daily

Sara White is editor of Accountancy Daily...

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