The owner of a Chester Indian restaurant who hid his income to avoid paying more than £93,000 in VAT has been jailed for two years.
Ataur Rahman Hashim, of Tarvin Road, Chester, claimed his business, Step In India (Chester) Limited, on Foregate Street, stopped trading in December 2011, but an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found the company continued to operate after this – but it did not declare any earnings.
Hashim failed to register for VAT or pay it despite trading over the VAT threshold since April 2012.
The fraud was uncovered when HMRC investigators found Hashim had received card payments and online takeaway orders totalling £560,013 between April 2012 and March 2017.
The 41-year-old pocketed £93,335 VAT which should have been paid to HMRC and, after admitting VAT fraud at Chester Crown Court on January 17, was sentenced to two years in prison at the same court on March 2.
Hashim was also disqualified from being a company director for 10 years. Proceedings are now underway to recover the stolen money.
Sandra Smith, assistant director at the Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Hashim thought he could hide his income and steal money which should have been used to fund our vital public services.
"He was done wrong and now he is paying the price. HMRC will continue to pursue tax criminals like Hashim who think stealing VAT is a legitimate way to do business.
"Anyone with information about tax fraud should report it to HMRC online or contact our Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”