Jail for Barton tradesman who paid no tax or national insurance for 27 years
A builder has been jailed after cheating taxpayers out of more than £117,600 by not paying income tax or National Insurance for 27 years.
He did not bother to declare his income and kept quiet about the money he had coming in from his businesses, a court heard.
Harry Rowbottom, 58, of Meadow Drive, Barton-Upon-Humber, admitted cheating the public revenue between 1983 and 2010.
Gordon Stables, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that Rowbottom was caught as part of a campaign by Revenue and Customs targeting self-assessment by plumbers.
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Rowbottom had worked as a builder, plumber and gas installer for 27 years but bank accounts revealed he apparently had no regular sources of income, Mr Stables said. He did not declare any income and had not paid income tax and National Insurance.
The total he should have paid in those years was £64,674 – or £117,602 with interest, Mr Stables told the court.
Rowbottom was arrested on November 3 last year and admitted not keeping proper records for a property he had owned since 2001 and of which he was the landlord. He also owned plots of land and admitted working for cash that was not paid into a bank.
Richard Hackfath, mitigating, said Rowbottom had enough assets to pay the money he owed and would do so as soon as he could.
"He let matters ride," said Mr Hackfath. "He fully expected it to come to light. It went on for 27 years. He was relieved to be caught and to no longer be listening for a knock on the door from Revenue and Customs. Ultimately, there will be no loss to the public purse. He knows he has to pay that money back and will take all steps to do that as soon as possible."
Judge Robert Moore told Rowbottom: "For 27 years, you paid no tax and National Insurance. Finally, in 2011, when the Revenue came knocking, you made full admissions and pleaded guilty at the earliest opportunity.
"You know the matter is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified."
Judge Moore jailed Rowbottom for 14 months and ordered him to pay back £117,602 within six months – or face a consecutive sentence of two years and three months.
Rowbottom was also ordered to pay £1,500 costs.