The most recent owner of the collapsed BHS chain owes more than £500,000 in tax on profits, according to reports.
The Guardian said the HMRC has initiated legal proceedings against Dominic Chappell – the former bankrupt who owned the department store chain from March 2015 until its downfall in April this year – to recover the tax he owes from the profits he made from running BHS.
However, Chappell has reportedly placed the business that owes the tax, Swiss Rock Limited, into liquidation, which means it could be written off and he could evade paying the taxman.
Swiss Rock – which is Chappell‘s personal business – was paid at least £1.6 million by BHS as part of his infamous £1 purchase and acquisition of the department store chain from Sir Philip Green.
According to documents by Chappell and appointed liquidators David Rubin & Partners, Swiss Rock owes £365,000 in VAT and £196,306 in corporation tax.
The company also reportedly owes £56,000 in “trade and expense” and £15,000 to Chappell from a loan account.
In addition, it has debts with Cornhill Capital, the City firm that advised Chappell before he took over BHS, but the amount is disputed.
The consortium led by Chappell that bought BHS, Retail Acquisitions, received at least £17 million from BHS even though it only owned it for 13 months.
The 11,000 BHS staff who lost their jobs still face a cut to their retirement benefits, thanks to the pension black hole that was revealed after the fall of the retailer.
The Insolvency Service and the Pensions Regulator are currently investigating Chappell, while the Serious Fraud Office has taken steps to consider launching a formal investigation.