Crooked clothing firm boss cheated taxman of £200,000

Leeds Court
Leeds Court

A businessman cheated the taxpayer out of £200,000 by failing to declare the extent of his income selling clothing on eBay.

Imtiaz Rashid claimed he was was working part-time in a bed factory earning just £5,000 a year instead of declaring the “substantial profits” he was making from his online business.

Leeds Crown Court heard Rashid ran a business called Boutique Clothing selling women’s and children’s clothing on the internet.

The 35-year-old initially came under police suspicion in 2008 when he bought a house with a deposit of £180,000 despite having little income.

Christopher Dunn, prosecuting, said the police took no action against him in relation to that matter but passed his details to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

An investigation revealed Rashid was recorded as working in a bed factory earning wages below the threshold for tax.

Mr Dunn said Rashid failed to declare accurate self assessment figures between 2009 and 2015.

Had he declared his correct earning over that period he should have paid £69,523 in income tax.

The court heard Rashid also made false declarations about his income in order to claim tax credits, leading to him being paid £31,611 he was not entitled to.

Mr Dunn said Rashid failed to declare the annual turnover of his business after applying for VAT registration in 2015.

The prosecutor said Rashid would have had to pay £122,676 had he made accurate declarations.

The total value of his offending was £211,789.

Rashid, of Soothill Lane, Batley, pleaded guilty to evading income tax and VAT and making false applications for tax credits

Mark Brookes, mitigating, said Rashid was sorry for what he had done.

He said family and friends had loaned Rashid money to re-pay the amount he defrauded in full.

Mr Brookes urged Recorder Simon Jackson, QC, to impose a community-based punishment so Rashid could continue working in order to repay those who had helped him.

Rashid was given a two year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and made the subject of a curfew for five months.

He was also ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work.

Recorder Jackson said:”You embarked on a deliberate plan of dishonesty.

“You should be ashamed of the fact that you have persisted for so long.

“You may be a hard working man but you have been a fraudulent man and now it is time to pay something back to society. If you don’t you will go to prison.”

Paula Dillon, President of Leeds Chamber Commerce.

New Chamber of Commerce boss Dillon calls for far more women in STEM jobs