A man has been ordered to pay Bury Council more than £65,000 in business rates he owed on his restaurant.
Ataur Rahman Haris (aged 37) had avoided paying rates for four years (January 2009 to March 2013), claiming that he had sub-let his restaurant in Whitefield to tenants and that therefore they were liable for the bills.
But no business rates were paid during this period, and council investigators were unable to contact or trace any of the alleged occupiers. Over a number of months, they found no evidence of any actual occupation of the premises by anyone other than Haris.
District Judge Prowse, at Bury Magistrates Court on 19 June 2013, found that Haris, of Bury and Bolton Road, Radcliffe, had remained directly involved in the business throughout, and that the tenancy agreements were a sham.
He awarded the council the full balance of business rates sought, a total of £65,158, plus costs of £13,260.
Councillor John Smith, Bury Council’s cabinet member for finance and corporate affairs, said: “We have a zero tolerance attitude towards tax avoidance and we will be vigorous in our pursuit of money owed to the council. It’s wrong, and unfair to hardworking taxpayers and businesses in this borough.”
Press release issued: 2 July 2013.