Director sentenced for £492k VAT fraud

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A director of a tiling business has been sentenced after stealing £492,000 through fraudulent VAT returns, despite HMRC giving him the chance to amend them

James Burton, from Northampton, pleaded guilty to tax fraud in June after he fraudulently stole £492,000 through a series of VAT returns with inflated payments.

Between March 2014 and March 2018, Burton pocketed repayments he was not entitled to through his tiling business, JA Burton Tiling Contractors Limited.

Following an investigation by HMRC, the tax authority discovered that he had submitted VAT returns with inflated payments on materials, and offered Burton the chance to make ‘full, open and honest’ disclosures about his tax affairs.

But he ignored all contact and claimed a letter sent to him, which had been signed for, had been lost in a drawer.

HMRC checks raised further concerns over his tax affairs and he was again offered the chance to correct them and pay what was owed, plus a penalty through a civil contractual disclosure facility (CDF), also known as ‘COP9’. Burton only contacted HMRC three months after the offer period had expired, however.

Appearing at Northampton Crown Court in June, Burton admitted five counts of tax fraud and was sentenced last week to a suspended two years in prison. Confiscation proceedings to recover the stolen tax are now underway.

Nick Stone, operation lead in the fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: ‘James Burton had the chance to do the right thing and put his tax affairs in order but has shown a disregard for the vast majority who pay what they owe.

‘We want to help people get their taxes right and can offer people the chance to make honest and open disclosures. If you engage in the process but lie you will also face prosecution. The consequences of not engaged are clear and they should be to others who offered this opportunity.’

For information on dealing with disciplinary matters, visit BrAInbox today where you can find answers to questions like Can I sack an employee for stealing a bar of chocolate from my shop?

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