A haulage director has been disqualified for eight and a half years after an investigation found more than half a million pounds of VAT was neither reported nor paid.

The Insolvency Service (IS) said Steven Heard’s conduct had fallen “extremely short of the standards of competence and integrity” after it also discovered transactions totalling £1.1m had insufficient explanations or supporting documentation.

Heard was director of LVH Services, a company incorporated in 2008 with a Dartford, Kent registered office.

LVH Services de-registered for VAT in April 2012 but during an inspection of the records of an associated company the following year, HMRC found LVH had been issuing invoices to it where VAT was also being charged.

LVH Services re-registered for VAT but entered liquidation in 2014, owing £654,960 in interest, surcharges and penalties relating to VAT alone.

The IS said the company’s internal records were not maintained properly and over £1m of payments to Heard and entities connected to him were identifiable, but not explained.

Cheryl Lambert, IS chief investigator said: “This is a significant ban, reflecting the severity with which the Insolvency Service considers the conduct of the director.

“Mr Heard oversaw an operation that, over a very long period, did not submit accurate information to the tax authorities and, after de-registering for VAT, participated in a scheme to use one company to reduce the VAT exposure of a connected company. The consequence is that over half a million pounds was not properly reported nor paid to HMRC.”

Heard was disqualified from running vehicles for three years in 2015 by TC Nick Denton due to the “sustained and deliberately illegal practices” he relied on to keep another one of his businesses, CTR Tipping Services, afloat.