Jail for tax cheating Chichester barrister

A barrister who lied about his earnings to reduce the amount of tax he paid has been jailed for 21 months, after an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC)

Wednesday, 12th January 2022, 5:48 pm
Mr Wilkins pleaded guilty to this charge at Taunton Crown Court on 22 November 2021 and was sentenced to 21 months in prison SUS-221201-174142001

Christopher John Wilkins, 57, of Chichester, West Sussex, stole £98,732 in tax by deliberately understating his income and inflating his expenses over a five-year period. During this time, he earned £740,000 HMRC have reported.

Zoe Ellerbeck, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “As a trusted barrister, Christopher Wilkins should have known better than to try and cheat the system.

“Nobody is above the law and tax fraud is not a victimless crime. People who defraud HMRC are stealing from their community by taking money away from hospitals, schools and other vital public services.

“We are committed to tackling criminals whose tax crime robs our vital public services of much-needed funds. Anyone with information about tax fraud should report it to HMRC online.”

HMRC said: Wilkins was arrested in May 2017 and said that he was ‘behind on his VAT payments’.

HMRC compared Wilkins’ VAT declarations to those provided by his Chambers, which revealed that he had lied about his income to reduce his tax liability.

HMRC said: “He was charged in February 2020 for being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT between March 2012 and June 2017.

“Mr Wilkins pleaded guilty to this charge at Taunton Crown Court on 22 November 2021 and was sentenced to 21 months in prison at the same court on 12 January 2022.”