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Belfast builder sentenced for VAT fraud

Press Release   •   Sep 18, 2014 15:59 BST

A Belfast builder who pocketed £73,000 of VAT he had charged his customers but failed to pass on to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has been sentenced.

John McDowell, 56, from St Judes Crescent, Belfast, was arrested by HMRC in July 2013 when investigations into his building company, Aspect Construction, revealed the fraud.

Mike Parkinson, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

“McDowell knew he was breaking the law when he deliberately failed to pay his taxes. HMRC takes tax fraud extremely seriously and anyone deliberately choosing to evade the taxes they owe should expect not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.

“Not passing the VAT you charge customers on to HMRC is illegal and anyone with information about people who may be involved in tax fraud can contact the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.”

Notes for editors

1. John McDowell, DOB 8/4/1958, was sentenced to 18 months suspended for two years when he appeared at Laganside Court this morning.

2. The VAT fraud amounted to £73,000.

3. Follow HMRC's press office on Twitter @HMRCpressoffice

4. HMRC’s Flickr channel:

Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.