Ryder Falls Over VAT Bill

Former Events Staging Structures head Carl Ryder has been ordered to pay £4,700 in fines and court costs after being found guilty of nine specimen counts of VAT evasion.

Skipton Magistrates passed sentence March 25 after prosecuting counsel Barbara Webster asked them to make the judgment against Ryder because Events Staging is in the process of being wound up.

The nine specimen charges related to a VAT liability of £11,510, although in two years trading the company – which builds stages for clients including the BBC – had built up an excise debt of close to £213,000.

Webster said that prior to Events Staging, which ran from 2006 to 2008, Ryder had presided over a string of failed companies going back to 1995. She asked the court to consider banning him from being a company director. She said Ryder had notice served on him on several occasions but, despite several promises, he failed to settle the VAT debt.

“The evidence is that Mr. Ryder is still raising invoices and charging VAT,” she explained, pointing out that the defendant opened a new company a day after the current charges were first brought to court.

Defending, Ben Williams said his client had gone though some personal difficulties and had responded by “burying his head in the sand for quite some time.”

He also said Ryder had been through problems that had cost him his house and a lot of money, but the new company he’s started has hired the services of a firm that will see money is set aside to cover future liabilities.

“This is how the new company he’s setting up will operate,” Williams said. He asked the bench to give Ryder a conditional discharge, which would serve as a reminder that he has to pay his VAT.

However, the North Yorkshire court told Ryder the charges were very serious and burying his head in the sand wasn’t the answer.

Although the prosecution asked the court to order Ryder to pay the maximum £5,000 for each of the specimen cases (a further 131 offenses were taken into consideration), the magistrates fined him £300 for each of the nine charges and also ordered him to pay £2,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £15.