By Tom Winnifrith | Wednesday 9 May 2018
I am not claiming that more than £600,000 paid to Julie Meyer's sans revenue Entrepreneur Country Global by the HMRC was paid in error but I have today explained to the taxman why it should investigate the possibility and provided it with the numbers. And it has now said that it will look into the matter. Oh dear.. first Malta demands she returns to face criminal charges and now this.. a bad day for the devout Christian but at least if the worst happens and the cash has to be returned, Ms Meyer can take comfort from the words of Acts 20:30 (King James Version Natch)
"I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive."
But as things stand between 2015 and 2017 Entrepreneur Country Global - sole director Julie Meyer - has managed to generate sales of nil but has received £610,831 from the grateful taxpayer as R&D tax credit. How ffing blessed are we the poor taxpayer in the eyes of the Lord?
The rules on such credits are clear. All expenses incurred in certain types of work which break new ground or advance an existing product are eligible and for every £1 spent a company can reclaim 33p from HMRC and you can go back three years so in 2017 you can claim for expenses incurred in 2017, 2016 and 2015.
I will be charitable and assume that 2016 and 2015 claims for credits all referred to 2014 and before although I suspect that is unlikely - why delay a claim and possible source of cash. But under this charitable interpretation one would see a 2017 claim of £429,500 while the entirety of possible expenses to be claimed against is £1,486,794. But that assumes that almost 100% of payroll, consultancy fees and computer hardware purchases are eligible. To have claimed £429,500 ECG would have to have suffered R&D claimable costs of £1,301,515.
Now three things strike me. The first is that the main business of ECG is staging events although they seem to be non revenue generating. I cannot see how that ius R&D claimable.
The second is that after all of these R&D tax credits at the end of 2017 the company appears to have zero tangible fixed assets and just £200,000 of intangible assets. The costs of creating these intangible assets is stated ( page 7 of the 2017 accounts) as £388,632 of which £102,811 was created in calendar 2017 ( when the R&D tax credit was £429,500). that looks a bit odd to me.
And thirdly, an internal source tells me that the business engaged in virtually no R&D and that the costs shown in the P&L relate to merely running the events business and other ongoing costs. By the middle of 2017 there were indeed virtually no staff at ECG.
Now of course Julie Meyer MBE is a devout Christian, has been lauded by Vince Cable and is a pillar of the establishment so I reckon that I must have missed something. But just to be sure I have asked HMRC to have a butchers and that they have now started to do.
And if Julie thinks that this bad news day is over, what with the Maltese court problems and this, I am afraid that she is sadly mistaken. There is more to come. Praise The Lord.
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