Barrister Robert Walter Osman, of Liverpool Road, Ainsdale, Southport has been jailed for 12 monthes after pleading guilty for failing to pass on more than £196,000 in Value Added Tax.
Osman, (64) who practised civil law, was de-registered for VAT in 1998 when he was made bankrupt, Andrew Haslam, prosecuting, told Leeds Crown Court. He subsequently joined Winckley Square chambers in Preston where VAT was collected as part of his fees.
He gave the firm his former VAT number, but was never re-registered with the Revenue and made no quarterly returns.
A schedule showed he had earned £1,335,243 between December 2002 and February 2011 including unpaid VAT of £196,115. Mr Haslam said Osman was once again declared bankrupt in June 2010 after HM Revenue and Customs brought proceedings for his failure to pay self assessment income tax between 2000 and 2009 when it was estimated he owed over £800,000.
Brendan Burke, representing Osman, said Osman had not set out to defraud the revenue but had become involved in offending through his own chaos and mismanagement and that he had since repaid almost half a million pounds to the Revenue but had lost his home and the profession in which he had been highly regarded.
Mr Burke said: “He comes before this court as a man in a situation of personal catastrophe, he has already lost everything, initially he had not realised he was de-registered but then had let things drift with a ‘head in the sand’ attitude to his financial affairs.”
He had resigned from the Bar and his only income now was Jobseekers Allowance.
Jailing Osman, Judge Roger Ibbotson said as an intelligent man he obviously knew he had to pay taxes.
“I do accept you have suffered and show genuine remorse and I take into account you have lost everything.”