Garage boss jailed for £300k tax fiddle

A BUSINESSMAN from Liversedge has been jailed for 32 months after cheating the taxman out of more than £300,000 in VAT.

Ian John Coleman, 53, of Knowler Way, Liversedge, failed to declare the true income of his vehicle repair company for 11 years.

Leeds Crown Court heard he was the sole proprietor of the Top Gear garage in Cleckheaton.

Simon Clegg, prosecuting, said Coleman had to pay extra in 2002 due to an inaccurate return but failed to heed the warning.

Over the next 11 years he submitted returns which failed to declare money from scrap sales, neglected to correct central assessments which were too low and  under-declared the firm’s income.

Due to the failure to declare sales to two scrap companies, £15,827 had not been paid.

As a result of failing to submit some returns there were estimates that £72,617 had not been paid.

And the West End industrial estate firm’s true income meant a further benefit over 11 years of £215,000.

Mark Rhind, for Coleman, said his client was a hard worker who initially had some cash flow problems.

Coleman had not intended it to lead to such a scale of offending, for which he was deeply ashamed. The money had not been used to fund a lavish lifestyle for his family but had been put back into the business.

He was known for supporting his local community and intends to fully repay the debt.

Coleman, who admitted 12 charges of evading VAT, employed nine people and it was hoped one of his staff would keep the business going.

Recorder Richard Woolfall told him: “This is clearly not a victimless crime. Everyone suffers especially in these difficult financial times – hospitals, schools and similar establishments suffer if the pot is diminished.”

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