HMRC check found discrepancy

Furlough claims result in ban for sign firm boss

Sheffield-based signage firm boss gave incorrect info to HMRC

The director of a sign and graphics business has been disqualified for abuse of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS).

The CJRS, also known as the furlough scheme, was one of a number of taxpayer-backed measures designed to support businesses and keep people in employment during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Insolvency Service report into Mark John Ibbotson, co-director and shareholder at M&M Sign Solutions Ltd in Sheffield, stated that he caused the firm “to provide information to HMRC that he knew, or ought to have known was inaccurate, in order to receive a higher level of payments claimed under the CJRS than the company was eligible for”.

M&M produced fascia signs, banners, vehicle and wall graphics, and point-of-purchase print.

CJRS claims had to be based on the pay which had been submitted to HMRC on a full payment submission for the 2019-2020 tax year by 19 March 2020. A whopping 11.7m employee jobs were furloughed through the scheme at a cost to the taxpayer of £70bn.

M&M made a claim for payments for Ibbotson under the CJRS based on monthly pay of £1,400 per calendar month. In total 19 claims were made.

However, following a check on the company’s CJRS claims HMRC found that Ibbotson’s regular pay for the 2019-2020 tax year was £800 per calendar month.

HMRC then raised an assessment which included at least £9,120 being the amount which had been overclaimed for Ibbotson under the CJRS.

M&M Sign Solutions was placed into voluntary liquidation on 30 March 2023.

The company had an estimated total deficiency of £123,688 at liquidation.

The CJRS was owed £31,000 including the £9,120 which remained outstanding. 

Ibbotson has been disqualified as a director for three years and six months for his conduct.

The banning order began on 29 January.

His month of birth is January 1976 and his last known address was on Kingsbrook Chase, Wath-Upon-Dearne, Rotherham.

According to the Statement of Affairs, M&M Sign Solutions also owed Barclays Bank £27,106 for a taxpayer-backed Bounce Back Loan.  

Ibbotson also set up a new company, M&M Signs & Graphics Ltd in February 2023. A subsequent filing that reached Companies House on 22 January this year stated that he had resigned as a director on the same day the company was incorporated.