Press release

Ban for taxi director who failed to co-operate with liquidator

Stephen James O’Neil (44), director of Taxeeze Limited, which operated as a taxi operator and radio controller as well as the renting and leading of cars and light motor vehicles, has been disqualified from being a director for 7 years, following a hearing in Dumbarton Sheriff Court on 3 December.

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The order against Stephen O’Neil from 24 December, prevents him from directly or indirectly becoming involved in the promotion, formation or management of a company for the duration of the order.

On 4 June 2014 Taxeeze, with debts of £72,369, was placed into compulsory liquidation following an HM Revenue & Customs petition at a time when Stephen O’Neil was the sole director.

Following the liquidator’s appointment, the investigation found that from 1 July 2012 to 04 June 2014, Stephen O’Neil failed to ensure Taxeeze preserved, or in the alternative, he failed to deliver up accounting records which were adequate to explain the financial standing of the company. Consequently, the Liquidator and the Company Investigations Edinburgh were prevented from:

  • verifying the company’s trading history following the loss of an application for the company to acquire a Taxi Booking Office license in November 2011
  • verifying what became of the company’s assets which at 30 June 2012 had a net book value of £152,421
  • verifying how receipts paid into the company bank account between 01 July 2012 and 09 June 2014 totaling £469,751 were achieved and whether the receipts were a true reflection of the company’s turnover during the period
  • verifying that the expenditure from the company bank account, in the sum of £456,481 between 02 July 2012 and 28 May 2014 was for bona fide company transactions
  • verifying the liability owed to HM Revenue & Customs in respect of PAYE Tax and NIC for tax year 2013/2014 as well as VAT between quarters 12/11 to 09/13. As well as verifying why Taxeeze failed to comply with its statutory obligation to prepare and file VAT returns during the aforementioned VAT period.

Verification was further hampered as a result of Stephen O’Neil failing to:

  • comply with the Liquidator’s request to prepare and submit a Statement of Affairs on behalf of Taxeeze
  • ensure Taxeeze complied with its obligation to prepare and file annual accounts for the year to 30 June 2013 with the Registrar at Companies House

Commenting on the disqualification, Robert Clarke, Group Leader - Insolvent Investigations North, said:

Keeping proper records is a pivotal duty for directors and there is no place in the business environment for those who neglect their responsibilities in this area and thereby cover up the activities of the companies they manage. The lack of records in this case made it impossible to determine whether there was other, more serious, misconduct at Taxeeze and that is reflected in the lengthy period of disqualification.

Notes to editors

Taxeeze Limited (CRO No. SC316979) went into compulsory liquidation on 4 June 2014 with a deficiency to creditors of £81,676, which subsequently decreased to £72,369. The company initially operated from premises at 17 Carbeth Road, Milngavie, G62 7PR as a “Taxi Operator and Radio Controller” before changing its business - on 18 November 2011 - to “Renting and leasing of cars and light motor vehicles and the provision of telecommunication services” when the company failed to obtain a taxi licence.

Stephen O’Neil’s date of birth is 2 October 1971.

A disqualification order has the effect that without specific permission of a court, a person with a disqualification cannot:

  • act as a director of a company
  • take part, directly or indirectly, in the promotion, formation or management of a company or limited liability partnership
  • be a receiver of a company’s property

In addition that person cannot act as an insolvency practitioner and there are many other restrictions are placed on disqualified directors by other regulations.

Further information on director disqualifications and restrictions is available.

The Insolvency Service (in Scotland) deals with disqualification of directors in corporate failures, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice. It may also use powers under the Companies Act to conduct confidential fact-finding investigations into the activities of live limited companies.

Further information about the work of the Insolvency Service, and how to complain about financial misconduct, is available.

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Published 21 December 2015