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Electrician jailed after VAT scam short-circuits

Press Release   •   Dec 27, 2013 11:54 GMT

An Suffolk electrician has been jailed for 10 months for an £80,000 VAT fraud following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Steve Newman, 37, of Sudbury Suffolk, owner of electrical company SN Electricians, registered for VAT in 2006 but paid nothing to HMRC despite claiming £40,000 in repayments. He claimed business had been poor but when investigators looked at his records they showed he actually owed HMRC nearly £80,000.

Paul Barton, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigations at HMRC, said:

“Newman thought he could abuse the VAT system by submitting false VAT returns to generate repayments, and claiming that his business was not making any money. He said he had borrowed money from family members to keep him afloat, but HMRC’s investigation revealed that to be a lie.

“Not paying VAT over to HMRC is illegal and anyone who knows someone committing a similar fraud should contact HMRC’s evasion hotline.” 

During interview, Newman told officers that he had lost all of his business records when he was clearing out his home. But after investigators confronted him with the financial records evidence he admitted that he had been doing cash jobs and that his VAT returns were not accurate.  He also admitted that the purchases on his VAT returns do not reflect his business.

Confiscation proceedings are now underway.

Notes for editors

1. Steve Newman, date of birth 05/07/1976, of Airey Close, Newton, Sudbury, Suffolk was sentenced for the fraudulent evasion of Value Added Tax (VAT) contrary to section 72 VAT Act 1994, in the sum of: £77,941in relation tohis tax affairs as an electrician.

2. Newton was given a custodial sentence of 15 months reduced to 10 months imprisonment, based on the Early Guilty Plea Scheme, with a minimum of five months to be served before review.

3. HMRC recently ran an opportunity for Electricians to come forward and pay any unpaid tax due, which raised nearly £1.3m. The Electricians Tax Safe Plan was an opportunity for people who install, maintain and test electrical systems, equipment and appliances, who had not told HMRC about all their income in the past, to bring their tax affairs up to date on the best possible terms.

4. 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.