An accountant who built a huge ‘man cave’ in his back garden has been told he must pay almost £300,000 ($400,000) in tax bills and have it demolished within three weeks.
Graham Wildin, from Cinderford, built the incredible complex, which includes a bowling alley, casino, bar and home cinema, back in 2014, but didn't seek the proper planning permission before building.
Wildin has been involved in a long-running legal battle of the complex, which was once dubbed ‘Britain’s best man cave’.
This month, the 69-year-old was ordered to pay almost £300,000 after losing an appeal at a tax tribunal.
Wildin had claimed the building was part of a holiday-let business and that it would be made available to people who rented holiday accommodation and that its building costs were therefore tax deductible.
But his claim was rejected and it was ruled that the purpose of the complex was not for outside use but to keep it ‘for the private enjoyment of his immediate family circle’, GloucestershireLive reports.
He lost the appeal and was told to pay a total of £297,630.65 in tax and VAT bills.
Wildin had previously been ordered to demolish the building by 10 March 2022, which is now a little under three weeks away.
In June last year, Wildin had attempted to argue that the development was a business venture, but the tribunal was presented with evidence of a 2014 newspaper article in which he had claimed it was for family use.
In the article he was quoted as saying: “This development is for my family. I’m doing this for my family.”
When interviewed by police in 2015, he was asked why he had given this quote to which he replied: “It has to be for the incidental enjoyment of the house for me not to need the planning. Once the building’s there it can be used for any purpose.
"As long as you then don’t use it for a club, because it’s commercial. You don’t have to apply for planning to have it as holiday lets because it’s part of the house.”
The tribunal found Wildin evidence had ‘significant inconsistencies’ and that he was not a ‘credible or reliable witness’.
HMRC investigator Stuart Ferguson said: "It is my opinion that you have attempted to deliberately mis-describe transactions in a way that was designed to mislead HMRC.
"Further to this, you have claimed deductions and VAT repayments which, as a qualified professional, you must have known you are not entitled to, due to the asset being used personally."
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
Topics: UK News
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