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Nowhere to hide for tax fraud scaffolder

Press Release   •   Jul 05, 2013 12:29 BST

A self-employed scaffolder from Sunderland, who admitted he had tried to hide from the taxman to avoid paying £56,000 in VAT and income tax, has been jailed for nine months.

After his arrest by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Joseph Dellett, 50, said that when he was declared bankrupt in 2007 with debts of over £70,000, he simply continued to operate below the radar. Working as a sub-contractor for other companies he didn’t declare or pay tax on his earnings but continued to charge his customers VAT, which he kept for himself. For four years he avoided paying more than £38,000 in VAT and £18,000 in income tax and national insurance contributions.

Jo Tyler, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said:

“The vast majority of businesses play by the rules but Dellett chose to evade the taxes he should have been paying. People who attempt to run a business or work in the black economy should take notice, we can and will track you down,

“HMRC is serious about ensuring people meet their tax obligations and anyone like Dellett, deliberately evading tax, will face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well. If you have information about those involved in tax fraud please contact our Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887”

Dellett failed to advise HMRC that he was again self-employed following his bankruptcy in 2007 and did not complete any Income Tax Self Assessments but HMRC officers discovered he had received payments for work with a number of contractors in the Sunderland area. They found he had been working as a sub-contractor, charging his customers VAT, yet he never submitted a VAT return. Officers were able to prove that Dellett was not only working in the UK but that he was receiving large payments on which was not paying Income Tax, National Insurance or VAT.

Dellett was arrested in August 2012 and pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of income tax and VAT. He was sentenced today to 18 months at Newcastle Crown Court.

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.