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Catch of the day - the chip shop tax dodger

Press Release   •   Oct 18, 2012 13:23 BST

A chip shop owner who lied about the income from his Folkestone fish and chip shop for six years has been told to pay £200,000 in 14 days, or serve three years in jail.

Russell Fox, who lives in Maidstone, Kent, was ordered by Canterbury Crown Court to pay the confiscation order after failing to pay £175,000 in tax and national insurance.  The order includes an amount to reflect the value of the fraud at today’s prices.

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) investigators discovered that Fox, 43, who runs the Little Fish Shop in Sandgate, Folkestone, Kent, routinely provided his accountant with rewritten weekly takings sheets that were lower than those provided by his manager. Till rolls were also missing and cash deducted from the true takings spreadsheets ranged from £365 to £5,250 per week.

Martin Brown, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

“Russell Fox thought he could dupe our officers by ‘losing’ or destroying till receipts that would have shown the true turnover of the business. He failed to pay income tax and national insurance contributions, and lied about his business expenditure in order to underpay his VAT. HMRC will not hesitate to pursue those who seek to lie and cheat their way to an unfair tax advantage over those who abide by the law.” 

Between 2005 and 2011, Fox failed to pay income tax of over £91,000 and national insurance contributions of more than £15,000. He also cooked the books on his VAT returns, resulting in an underpayment of almost £68,500 during the same period.   In addition to the confiscation order, he was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for two years.  He must also complete 250 hours community service and adhere to a three month curfew. 

Notes to editors

Defendant’s details: Russell Fox of Stream Cottage, 96 Rochester Road, Aylesford, Maidstone, Kent, ME20 7BL.  D.O.B 21/02/69.

The Little Fish shop is at 6 Gough Road, Sandgate, Folkestone.

Fox had previously admitted two counts of Cheating the Revenue at a hearing at Canterbury Crown Court on 31 August 2012.

Fox failed to pay £91,674.80 income tax, £68,443.97 VAT and £15,119.85 in national insurance contributions – a total of £175,238.62.  He must pay £200,001.86 within 14 days or serve a three year default sentence.

A photo of the defendant is available on HMRC’s flickr channel

Follow HMRC on Twitter @HMRCgovuk

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.