Roofer sentenced for avoiding tax

|News, Fraud and economic crime

A roofer who defrauded the taxman out of more than £103,000 has been sentenced at Newcastle Crown Court.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said that Kenneth Smith, 39, of Corby Gardens in Newcastle upon Tyne, didn’t pay income tax or VAT from August 2011 to April 2018.

He didn’t declare that he was working as a roofer or tell Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) what his true income was.

His fraud came to light when it emerged he had been using a cheque cashing facility that charges a lot of commission, which is an unusual practice.

Enquiries by HMRC revealed that, from December 2013 to April 2016, Mr Smith had cashed £42,258.21 in cheques at the Cheque Shop, incurring charges of £1,637.71.

For almost all of this period, apart from three months in 2016, Mr Smith had not declared any income as a roofer.

He registered for Income Tax Self- Assessment (ITSA) as a sole trader in February 2016 but he still failed to declare the entirety of his income.

He pleaded guilty to three counts of tax fraud at a Pre-Trial and Preparation Hearing on 25 April. He was sentenced on 24 June 2019 at Newcastle Crown Court to 22 months in prison, suspended for two years.

He must also do 300 hours of community work, pay £670 in costs and a curfew has been imposed for a month. He will be electronically tagged and can’t leave the house between 7pm and 6am.

CPS Mersey-Cheshire’s Fraud Hub prosecuted this case.

Senior Crown Prosecutor Maqsood Khan, from the unit, said: “Mr Smith defrauded the public purse for several years and paid no tax at all on what was a considerable income.

“He did eventually register to self-assess his tax returns but even then didn’t own up to all that he had earned.

“Tax revenue pays for all the elements of a civilised society, such as roads, education and our health service. No doubt Mr Smith has benefited from all of these over the years yet has set about avoiding paying his part.

“Let’s hope this prosecution teaches him and others who are similarly avoiding tax to change their ways.”

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