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Aria Technology takes £750k VAT fraud case to Court of Appeal

Senior beak overrules Upper Tribunal judges' refusal

Aria Technology Ltd, the company that used to run e-tailer Aria PC, is headed for the Court of Appeal in a third attempt to overturn a £750,000 VAT fraud ruling.

The company has secured permission from Lord Justice Lewison to appeal against an HMRC decision to deny the firm £758,770.69 in input tax after the UK taxman decided the business had taken part in a carousel fraud scheme.

HMRC altered Aria Technology's VAT return for period 07/06 on the basis that the company "knew, or should have known, that the transactions... were connected with the fraudulent evasion of VAT", as Upper Tribunal judges Mr Justice Roth and Judge Richards summarised the case. A net total of just over £300,000 was said to be due to HMRC from Aria Technology Ltd.

The company was said to have taken part in a VAT evasion scam by forming part of a trading chain that scammed the taxman out of lawfully due taxes, though company director Aria Taheri has always denied this.

Aria Technology appealed against HMRC's decision to the First-Tier Tribunal, a specialised tax court, and lost. It took the case a step higher to the Upper Tribunal's Tax and Chancery Chamber, losing there too.

Although the judge who presided over that second appeal, Mr Justice Roth, refused the company permission to appeal, it took the matter over his head to the Court of Appeal, as anyone in that position is entitled to do. A senior judge duly gave Aria Technology the go-ahead earlier this year.

The Court of Appeal case is scheduled to be heard in January 2020.

The Register recently published a description of VAT carousel fraud, likely to be useful to resellers and curious readers alike. ®


Regular readers will recall that The Register took on Aria Taheri in the Upper Tribunal after he tried to stop us from seeing case papers during the hearing of the second appeal. He lost, handing El Reg a resounding victory for open justice.

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