Tax fraudster prosecuted for filing false self-assessment returns

A tax fraudster who tried to claim more than £60,000 worth of tax, after falsely claiming that he was self-employed, has received a suspended prison sentence.

Factory worker, Chris McGrath, from Castle Bromwich, Birmingham pleaded guilty to three counts of tax fraud after his scam was uncovered by HM Revenue & Customs’ (HMRC) tax investigators.

Birmingham Crown Court heard how McGrath had submitted fraudulent self-assessment tax returns between 2013 and 2016. Despite the fact that he was not self-employed, he submitted the returns falsely claiming that he had paid too much tax and was therefore due to receive a refund.

Nearly £8,000 was fraudulently reclaimed by McGrath who, brazenly, even chased HMRC and threatened legal action when payments were withheld during the tax investigation.

During his court appearance, it was revealed that McGrath had, in fact, held numerous factory and security jobs between 2012 and 2015. During this time he had paid income tax via PAYE but, at the same time, had filed self-assessment returns, falsely claiming that he was self-employed.

HMRC’s tax investigators discovered that he had altered his salary levels and the tax he had paid on eight different occasions, in an attempt to steal £61,916.

In court, McGrath admitted that the money had helped to fund his gambling addiction. He was sentenced to 21 months in prison, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to complete a gambling rehabilitation programme, pay £3,750 in costs and also complete 100 hours of unpaid work.

Dr Anjulika Salhan, a Director and Head of Salhan Accountants’ taxation investigation advice team, said: “Only a minority of individuals intentionally set out to defraud HMRC, but those that do face the full force of a criminal investigation and prosecution.

“However, there are many people who unwittingly break HMRC’s tax rules and find they are under the spotlight of a tax investigation.

“At Salhan Accountants, our team work extremely hard for clients subjected to a tax investigation. We not only clarify the issues and the process, but come up with solutions too.”

For more information about our taxation investigation services, please contact us.