Connect with us


‘I received 6,000 letters from HRMC – all Chinese companies registering for VAT’



A WEST WALES landlord has been overwhelmed with an astonishing number of letters from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) after more than 11,000 overseas Chinese companies used his address to register for VAT.

Dylan Davies, an estate agent from Ceredigion who owns a flat in Cardiff, expressed his frustration at receiving over 6,000 letters to his apartment since September of last year.

Tax officials have stated that they have found “no evidence of any fraud” in this peculiar situation. Mr. Davies, 65, recounted his initial surprise when he discovered a cascade of brown envelopes tumbling out of his letterbox. “Back in September, I was there one day and opened the letterbox and all these brown envelopes fell out.

“I counted about 580 that one time,” he told Herald.Wales.

When his attempts to contact HMRC failed to yield a response, he turned to the Welsh BBC consumer show X-Ray, which subsequently aired his story.

“That woke up everybody then. All of a sudden I heard from HMRC,” he said. “By that time [the end of 2022], I think I had about 3,000 letters. Now I’ve had over 6,000 letters…I had a letter from HMRC in March that they would be looking into it. They apologized…they made sure that no more post would arrive at my address – but they’re still arriving. I had 20 there last week.”

Among the deluge of letters were demands from debt collection agencies. “[X-Ray] opened a small amount of those, and the debt was over half a million…that was only a small portion of the letters I’ve had.” Mr. Davies admitted that the ordeal had been a “very, very worrying time” before X-Ray intervened.

“I was just knocking my head against the wall. I just wanted somebody to recognize I had this issue…just to show that I was innocent in all this. But I couldn’t get any responses,” he explained. He added, “I was having visions of bailiffs coming and charging the door down one night and taking everything you’ve got in the house.”

Mr. Davies also expressed concern about the potential impact on his own business due to the incident. “It was the worry of what word would get about – like whether I’m involved in VAT fraud…if I woke up in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t go back to sleep because it just worries you.”

According to Mr. Davies, his solicitor had sent two letters to HMRC prior to the BBC show, but they did not receive a response. During a recent appearance before the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee, HMRC CEO Jim Harra apologized for the delay in responding to Mr. Davies’ solicitor. He explained that the letter had been delivered to an old HMRC address and took some time to be redirected, before being “mishandled” within the department.

By the time HMRC finally addressed the issue, Mr. Davies had already gone public with his story. Mr. Harra expressed gratitude for Mr. Davies contacting the department and apologized for the lack of prompt action following their initial contact. He described the incident as “very odd” and “very curious,” but reassured the committee that HMRC was confident that no fraud had been committed against them as a result.

“We have been seriously investigating it, but at this point, we cannot find any indication of wholesale fraud as a result of it. Whether it was an unsophisticated attempt to do so, which didn’t work, it’s difficult to tell,” Mr. Harra stated.

He further explained that the businesses in question were overseas firms selling goods to the UK through online marketplaces

like eBay or Amazon. A change in the law in January 2021 mandated that online marketplaces collect VAT from foreign businesses and remit it to HMRC.

Mr. Harra noted that HMRC was aware of the risk of overseas businesses impersonating UK entities to avoid accounting for VAT through the online marketplace. However, additional checks carried out by these platforms prevent such deception. “Simply registering at a UK correspondence address does not pass those tests. So that in itself could not con an online marketplace into thinking that they are a UK business. And sure enough, when we have looked into businesses on this long list, we’ve found that for the vast majority of their sales via online marketplaces to UK customers, VAT has been accounted for by the online marketplace [since 2021],” explained Mr. Harra.

Out of the 11,000 businesses registered at Mr. Davies’ address, over 2,356 owe a tax debt to HMRC, but these debts pre-date the 2021 online marketplace rule, making the companies primarily responsible for payment. However, there is currently no requirement for proof of residence at a UK address when registering for VAT.

“We have no address with which to correspond with these 2,300 businesses until we have resolved the addresses issue,” Mr. Harra informed the committee. HMRC conducts additional checks, including requesting evidence of business establishment at the provided address, for applications or changes in registration that meet certain risk criteria.

According to Mr. Harra, it would be highly unusual for fraudsters to use an address not under their control. When asked if HMRC systems flag instances where a large volume of letters is sent to a single address, he clarified that it is quite common for a significant number of foreign businesses to register at a single serviced office correspondence address in the UK, where their tax agent can handle the extensive correspondence on behalf of overseas clients.

Ben Lake, the Plaid Cymru MP for Ceredigion, expressed concern about HMRC’s systems in light of a residential address in Wales unexpectedly receiving over 11,000 letters and businesses changing their address to that property. He sought reassurance that his constituent would not face any formal demands or enforcement action from HMRC due to the mix-up.

Mr. Harra stated that HMRC took action in March to prevent further correspondence to Mr. Davies’ address. However, when Mr. Lake pointed out that his constituent had continued to receive letters since then, the tax boss admitted that their existing systems were imperfect and promised to explore implementing additional alerts.

Mr. Harra affirmed that HMRC is still conducting investigations into the incident, acknowledging the tremendous inconvenience and distress it has caused Mr. Davies. The department is also reviewing its procedures to prevent a recurrence of similar incidents in the future.

Continue Reading


Sensational music event thrills the crowds at Scolton Manor



AN UNFORGETTABLE evening of live jazz, classical, rock, and film score music captivated hundreds of attendees at the enchanting ‘Music at the Manor’ event. Presented by the esteemed Pembrokeshire Music Service, this musical extravaganza took place amidst the picturesque grounds of Scolton Manor, offering young talents from across the county a chance to showcase their skills in a relaxed setting. For many of these budding musicians, it marked their debut performance in front of a live audience.

The event witnessed outstanding displays of talent from a myriad of ensembles, including the County Brass Band, Training Orchestra (featuring the Second Steps group), Concert Band, Rock and Pop bands, Rock Strings, Symphonic Wind Band, Pembrokeshire’s Community Choir, and the esteemed Cleddau Chamber Orchestra.

Among the delighted attendees was Patricia Mawuli Porter OBE, who attended the event alongside her family. She described the evening as “a wonderful demonstration of community, music, family, caring, and just what an amazing part of the world we live in.” Mawuli Porter OBE was particularly impressed with the diversity of performances, ranging from youth bands belting out energetic renditions of songs like ‘Teenage dirtbag’ to the majestic classical and movie-themed scores, which added depth and variety to the musical tapestry.

“We can only applaud the team at Pembrokeshire Music Service for putting on the most incredible community event and look forward to next year’s event with great anticipation!” Mawuli Porter OBE exclaimed with enthusiasm.

Cllr David Simpson, Leader of Pembrokeshire County Council, expressed his gratitude to the Pembrokeshire Music Service team for organizing such an excellent evening of entertainment. “It was a lovely concert, and so good to see it full of local people enjoying themselves,” he commended. “Credit must go to the brilliant participants, be they playing an instrument or singing songs, they were excellent.”

Vivienne Ward from the Newport Music Society also offered her congratulations to all the performers, acknowledging the impressive talent pool in Pembrokeshire. “What impressive young musicians there are in Pembrokeshire, and what a wonderful variety of different bands/orchestras are available for the young to choose from; they are indeed lucky,” she praised.

The event drew overwhelming praise from parents in attendance, with one parent raving, “The standard was exceptional, and a wonderful evening was had by one and all. Well done, everyone! A massive thanks to everyone involved, and much appreciation to Pembrokeshire Music Service – we are so lucky to have you!”

Philippa Roberts, the head of the Music Service, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to all those involved in making ‘Music at the Manor’ a resounding success. “A huge thank you from the team at Pembrokeshire Music Service to everyone who contributed to making Music at the Manor a wonderful community event,” Roberts said. “Working in partnership with Valero, the Friends of Pembrokeshire Young Musicians, and Scolton Manor, I am grateful to everyone who helped and supported the performers to provide a special evening of live music.”

With its remarkable performances and celebration of musical diversity, ‘Music at the Manor’ proved to be an extraordinary showcase of Pembrokeshire’s vibrant musical talent. As the echoes of this magnificent event fade away, anticipation for next year’s edition continues to build, promising an even more spectacular musical spectacle for all to enjoy.

Continue Reading


Police confirm body found in search for Huw



POLICE said than a frantic search for Haverfordwest man Huw Phillips, 56, has been called off after the body of a man was discovered in the local area.

Police said that Huw’s family have been informed and are being supported by specialist officers, after the body was found on Saturday afternoon (Jun 3). 

Huw’s son Kenes Phillips took to Facebook to share the sad news. He bravely said: “Thank you everyone for sharing, showing your love, helping with the search and just doing whatever you could to offer the slightest bit of help.

“But unfortunately, my father was found dead.”

Huw’s good friend Mark Llewhellin paid tribute. He said: “Huw was born of the 4th July. He was kind, sensitive, a good laugh and one of my very best friends.
“I was lucky to have had him as a close friend.
“See you on the other side my friend, but not yet, not yet.”

The police posted on Facebook at 4pm on Saturday saying: “Thank you for sharing our appeal earlier to find Huw, missing from Haverfordwest.

“Sadly, a body has been found during the search, and therefore we are no longer appealing for information.
“Officers are supporting Huw’s family and our thoughts are with them all.”

Earlier on Saturday, the police found Huw’s abandoned car in Clay Lane, Haverfordwest.

Continue Reading


Ironman Wales in Tenby becomes second UK event of 2023 to sell out



THE HIGHLY anticipated Ironman Wales event in Tenby has captured the attention of athletes, becoming the second race in the UK this year to sell out well before the season kicks off.

Scheduled for Sunday, September 3, Ironman Wales has now joined the Ironman 70.3 Swansea event as another sold-out competition in the country.

The popularity of the Tenby event should come as no surprise, as it was the only race to feature in the top 10 globally in eight out of nine categories in the Ironman Athletes’ Choice Awards. This prestigious recognition is based on votes cast by triathletes from around the world.

The captivating swim start at Tenby’s North Beach, the picturesque bike ride passing by stunning beaches and castles, and the exhilarating finish line on streets filled with cheering spectators have made Ironman Wales internationally renowned.

Sam Brawn, the regional director for UK & Ireland at The Ironman Group, expressed his delight, saying, “Ironman Wales continues to attract a tremendous following from our athletes year after year. Whether they are returning participants or newcomers eager to conquer this iconic course, the event remains immensely popular.”

“We take great pride in the fact that the race has been acknowledged as one of the finest events in the global Ironman Series. It secured a spot in the top 10 across multiple categories in the Global Ironman Athletes’ Choice Awards, including a second-place ranking in both the ‘Will Recommend To A Friend’ and ‘Overall Host City’ categories.”

For those who were unable to secure a spot in Tenby, Mr. Brawn highlighted Ironman Cork as an exciting alternative. The inaugural event in Cork, Ireland, took place last year and will return on Sunday, July 2.

“It’s also thrilling to witness the growing popularity of new races, such as the festival weekend in Cork, Ireland, which has gained traction after just one year,” he added.

The official UK and Ireland race season will commence in just over a week with Ironman 70.3 Staffordshire on June 11. The organizers eagerly anticipate an exhilarating few months of racing, regardless of the weather conditions that the British summer may bring.

Athletes looking to complete their race calendar for 2023 can find the full schedule of events at

Continue Reading

News14 hours ago

Police confirm body found in search for Huw

POLICE said than a frantic search for Haverfordwest man Huw Phillips, 56, has been called off after the body of...

News18 hours ago

Ironman Wales in Tenby becomes second UK event of 2023 to sell out

THE HIGHLY anticipated Ironman Wales event in Tenby has captured the attention of athletes, becoming the second race in the...

News2 days ago

Police Commissioner: Can you support our volunteering schemes?

WITH national volunteering week having started on June 1, Police and Crime Commissioner Dafydd Llywelyn is encouraging residents from Powys,...

News2 days ago

Milford Haven couple found guilty in waste disposal case

AT A RECENT hearing at Haverfordwest Magistrates’ Court, the Ceredigion and Pembrokeshire Youth Court reached a verdict in a case...

News3 days ago

Two lives saved after children get in trouble in surf off Pendine

TENBY’S all-weather lifeboat was requested to launch at 1.40pm on Thursday 1st June, following a report of children in difficulty...

News3 days ago

Dragon collaborates with Withybush Hospital Cancer Day Unit Appeal

DRAGON LNG Group has told The Herald it is delighted to announce its charity of the year for the period...

News3 days ago

Pembrokeshire’s Democracy Champions of the future join forces

Young people from Pembrokeshire’s secondary schools recently attended a special event designed to help them become Democracy Champions.These Democracy Champions...

News4 days ago

Former councillor’s pub works expected to be refused

ALTERATIONS to a bar in a seaside village’s conservation area, partly owned by a former county councillor, are expected to...

News4 days ago

One week to go until deadline for 20 MPH consultation, says Council

IN JULY 2022, the Senedd passed legislation to reduce the default speed limit from 30mph to 20mph on restricted roads...

News5 days ago

National Park planners set to refuse toilet conversion to ice cream parlour

A SCHEME to turn surplus public toilets to a takeaway ice cream parlour/coffee bar is expected to be refused by...

Popular This Week