A plumber from Hampshire has been sentenced to four months in jail , suspended for 12 months, for tax evasion as a result of HMRC's targeted crackdown on various trades.
This follows a number of HMRC investigations targeting plumbers, gas fitters and heating engineers who failed to take advantage of last year's Plumbers Tax Safe Plan (PTSP) to put their tax affairs in order. Those who came forward have already paid more than £4m in outstanding tax.
HMRC investigators discovered that Peter Mack of Ringwood had set up his own freelance plumbing business in 1997, but never registered his earnings with HMRC.
Detailed enquiries revealed that over a 14-year period Mack evaded £88,000 of income tax and VAT, plus interest, bringing the total to £112,000.
The tax arrears were calculated as:
- £10,000 for 2010 - 2011
- £50,000 for 2004 - 2010
- £28,000 for 1997 to 2004 plus interest
He was arrested on 28 July 2011 and pleaded guilty to £40,000 of fraud at Southampton Crown Court on 2 April. He recently paid £40,000 to HMRC who will seek to recover the rest of the money through civil proceedings.
Mack was also suspended for 12 months, ordered to pay £1,800 costs and will serve 100 hours of community service.
John Cooper, HMRC assistant director of criminal investigation, said: "After leaving full-time employment in 1997 it would appear that Mack decided to set-up alone and flout the law. He didn't register for Self Assessment, and paid no income tax or VAT. This gave him an unfair and illegal advantage over his law abiding business competitors and robbed the exchequer of vital revenue."
Mike Wells, HMRC director of risk and intelligence services, added: "We want people targeted by any HMRC campaign to come forward and use the opportunity to put the record straight and pay any tax due on the best possible terms. It really is better for people who owe tax to come to HMRC, before we come and find you."
So far more than £500m has been raised by HMRC from voluntary disclosures, and a further £105m from follow-up activity.
Campaigns launched so far have targeted offshore investments, medical professionals, plumbers, VAT defaulters, coaches & tutors, electricians and online traders.