Tax fraud PR man Richard Hillgrove faces bankruptcy as HMRC demands £24,500

Richard Hillgrove, the PR agent who was given a 15-month suspended sentence for tax fraud in 2014, has been served with a bankruptcy petition by HM Revenue and Customs.

Tax fraud PR man Richard Hillgrove faces bankruptcy as HMRC demands £24,500

The PR man has been asked to appear at the London County Court on 3 October, where HMRC's petition will be heard by a judge.

Hillgrove's conviction three years ago came after his business failed to pay nearly £90,000 in VAT and PAYE payments between 2011 and 2012. He had pleaded not guilty to the charges and represented himself through much of the trial.

Over the past five years, he has been served with a number of demands for unpaid personal taxes, and told PRWeek that on previous occasions, he has been able to negotiate to pay these in part. The latest demand, served in April, asked for nearly £31,000. He has so far paid a fifth of this.

In August, his case was prominently featured when he took part in Channel 4 show Catching The Tax Dodgers. Two days after the show, HMRC presented the bankruptcy petition to the call, renewing its call for Hillgrove to pay the remaining £24,500 of April's tax demand.

Hillgrove said he would struggle to pay this, but would explain his situation to the judge in October.

He told PRWeek he believed HMRC had filed the bankruptcy petition out of "personal" spite, because the revenue had been made to "look silly" in the C4 documentary. He said of the show: "I got an enormous number of people coming out of the woodwork saying it was unbelievable how unfairly you were treated, and I don't think they [HMRC] like that negative PR."

Read next: Hillgrove escapes custodial sentence for tax fraud

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