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Children’s play area saved by hero judge

 Published on: 20th October 2017   |   By: The Newsdesk   |   Category:

A farm-themed soft play area for children in Bushey has been saved from financial oblivion by an unlikely hero – a tax judge. Farmyard Funworld, based at The Lincolnsfield Children’s Centre, was just about making ends meet before it suffered a burglary on March 8. Raiders stole £4,300 from the safe and caused damage which needed emergency repairs, costing another £2,300 And, just to add to the business’s woes, the raid was followed by an unseasonable heatwave, said Judge Harriet Morgan. The flow of children into its indoor play area slowed to a trickle and the end result of that catalogue of disasters was a cash flow crisis. Farmyard Funworld Ltd’s £8,000 VAT bill was due for payment on April 2 – but the deadline was missed by a matter of hours. And HM Revenue and Customs’ response was to hit the company with a stinging late-payment penalty of almost £2,000. Francis McLennan, a director of the company, told the First-Tier Tribunal that the fine could threaten the business’s very existence. All the company’s 14 staff could lose their jobs unless the penalty was waived, he argued. Upholding the appeal, Judge Morgan said the company had set aside money to pay the VAT bill before the burglary. No-one could have been expected to foresee the extraordinary sequence of events which caused the cash flow emergency, she added. The company had a “reasonable excuse” for paying its VAT late and should not have been penalised, she ruled.

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