Crime

11-year ban for payroll boss in tax avoidance scheme

Magnetic Push Ltd operated for 11 months before it went into liquidation and was voluntarily wound up. The issue occurred when the liquidator reported to the Insolvency Service that boss, Scott Rooney ‘refused to co-operate and failed to deliver up the company’s books and records’

A Leicester payroll services boss has been banned for orchestrating a “multi-million pound tax avoidance scheme”, while failing to justify £37m expenditure in 11 months.

Scott Rooney of Leicester, was appointed sole director of Magnetic Push Ltd in February 2017.

The company provided payroll services, trading from a serviced office in Liverpool, and was previously known as The Knowledgeshares Ltd and My PSU Subcontractors Ltd.

Magnetic Push Ltd operated for just 11 months before it went into liquidation and was voluntarily wound up. 

The liquidator, however, reported to the Insolvency Service that Rooney “refused to co-operate and failed to deliver up the company’s books and records”.

Rooney’s “lack of cooperation” and further information provided by the tax authorities that the company was part of a tax avoidance scheme triggered an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

The investigation found that Magnetic Push was “playing an active role” as an umbrella company in a “wider tax avoidance scheme”.

Rooney declared a VAT liability of just £609 but the tax authorities claimed more than £4m from Magnetic Push in the liquidation. The company also failed to declare PAYE and National Insurance contributions.

The absence of books and records meant investigators “could not establish genuine company expenses” from almost £37m  that had left the company account between February and December 2017 nor the reasons behind the company’s failure.

On 1 March 2021, at the High Court in front of Judge Jones, Rooney was disqualified as a company director for 11 years.

Martyn Pettitt, deputy head of Insolvent Investigations at the Insolvency Service, said: “Scott Rooney’s significant ban shows how important it is for company directors to keep adequate books and records, and the measures that can be taken if they do not take this responsibility seriously. 

“Directors like Scott Rooney cannot avoid scrutiny or sanctions when operating within a tax avoidance scheme by placing their company into insolvency and failing to co-operate and we will not hesitate to seek a ban where it is appropriate to do so.”

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