VAT blunder costs each home in village £40

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A SOUTH Holland parish council has again been called to explain the blunder that led to around £61,500 going unclaimed in VAT.

Moulton resident Susan Wilson – clerk and “responsible financial officer” to Weston and Cowbit parish councils – raised the failed reclaim at the start of Moulton’s meeting on Tuesday night.

After detailing information from Moulton’s accounts, Ms Wilson said: “I sincerely hope that the parish council gives careful consideration to what the actual facts are behind this £61,500 being lost to the residents of the parish as it represents a staggering sum of £40 for every household – including yours and mine – in Moulton, Moulton Seas End and Moulton Chapel.”

The annual internal audit report, prepared by Geoffrey Parkes, for the year ending March 2011 revealed the £61,500 claim – said to have been submitted in March 2006 – is outstanding.

Mr Parkes said then: “Although hopes were high after the supply and approval of copy invoices sent to the London office of HMRC a different office is refusing to meet the claim.”

Retired police officer Peter Breach has also asked questions but has so far not had a satisfactory answer from the council.

Ms Wilson wanted to know whether the VAT claim finally submitted in 2009/10 coincided with the involvement of “persons brought in by the parish council to try and reconstruct the books of account after it became clear that there were some grave problems with the accounting records of the parish council”?

She continued: “Is it a pure coincidence therefore that when eventually this VAT reclaim was submitted it apparently covered the three-year period in which a valid claim can be made – thus leaving 2004/5 and 2005/6 as irrecoverable?”

Moulton clerk Geoff Barham was absent on Tuesday and chairman Coun Lawrence Wakefield mentioned some years when VAT was reclaimed, but didn’t expand any more on the sum outstanding.

Coun Wakefield told Ms Wilson: “I am not going to go any further into that tonight.

“If you let us have a copy of what you have read out, we will go through it.”