Press release

Suffolk builder gets 8 year ban for dodging taxes and failing to keep accounting records

Stephen Paul Martin was disqualified from being a company director for 8 years by the County Court at Bury St Edmunds on 23 November 2016.


Mr Martin of Bury St Edmunds was the director of S P Martin Builders Limited from 25 May 2005 until it went into liquidation on 20 March 2015.

Mr Martin failed to attend court or respond to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s application for the Disqualification Order. The disqualification, effective 21 days from the date of the order, follows an investigation by the Insolvency Service.

Mr Martin’s failure to maintain or deliver up the company’s accounting records means that it has not been possible to establish that all money paid out by his firm was related to genuine company expenses. It has also not been possible to verify the company’s true level of sales income or ascertain the reason for bank payments totaling £72,420.

The Insolvency Service’s investigation also found that Mr Martin caused the company to fail to file the required annual accounts and returns with Companies House from 2010 to 2015. In addition, Mr Martin also failed to submit the necessary returns and payments in respect of taxes over a five year period from 2010 to 2015 resulting in £81,226 outstanding to HMRC in the liquidation.

Commenting on the disqualification, Robert Clarke, Investigations Group Leader at the Insolvency Service said:

Directors of limited companies have a clear, statutory obligation to make sure that they maintain full and accurate records. Without these it is impossible to verify what has happened to company funds, account for its assets or establish whether directors have acted properly.

Directors cannot cloak their actions through a lack of records, or seek to gain an unfair competitive advantage through non-payment of taxes, and the Insolvency Service will take robust action against those who fail to maintain the standards required.

Notes to editors

S P Martin Builders Limited (CRO No. 05463459) was placed into Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidation (CVL) on 20 March 2015 with a deficiency as regards creditors of £82,801. The company, which was incorporated on 25 May 2005, traded in the building and construction industry from 6 Scott Road, Ixworth, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, IP31 2ER.

Stephen Paul Martin’s date of birth is September 1957.

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

Disqualification undertakings are the administrative equivalent of a disqualification order but do not involve court proceedings. Persons subject to a disqualification order are bound by a range of other restrictions.

The Insolvency Service, an executive agency sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), administers the insolvency regime, and aims to deliver and promote a range of investigation and enforcement activities both civil and criminal in nature, to support fair and open markets. We do this by effectively enforcing the statutory company and insolvency regimes, maintaining public confidence in those regimes and reducing the harm caused to victims of fraudulent activity and to the business community, including dealing with the disqualification of directors in corporate failures.

BEIS’ mission is to build a dynamic and competitive UK economy that works for all, in particular by creating the conditions for business success and promoting an open global economy. The Criminal Investigations and Prosecutions team contributes to this aim by taking action to deter fraud and to regulate the market. They investigate and prosecute a range of offences, primarily relating to personal or company insolvencies.

The agency also authorises and regulates the insolvency profession, assesses and pays statutory entitlement to redundancy payments when an employer cannot or will not pay employees, provides banking and investment services for bankruptcy and liquidation estate funds and advises ministers and other government departments on insolvency law and practice.

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

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Published 1 December 2016