Belfast Telegraph

Belfast fish seller told HMRC he had £80k in expenses for £10k business

Mark Smart ran a business selling fish door-to-door (Steve Parsons/PA)
Mark Smart ran a business selling fish door-to-door (Steve Parsons/PA)

A Belfast man has been handed a suspended sentence for claiming £80,000 in expenses for a business with a turnover of only £10,000.

Mark Smart (52), a door-to-door fish salesman, was interviewed by HMRC officers in Octobers 2017 and claimed he travelled by car on a ferry from Dublin to Whitstable, England, every two to three weeks, however he was unable to provide any business records.

Investigators also found Mr Smart submitted fraudulent annual Tax Credit claims.

In July 2019, he pleaded guilty to VAT, Tax Credit and money laundering charges at Belfast Crown Court and was subsequently handed an 18-month sentence, suspended for three years.

Steve Tracey, assistant director of HMRC's Fraud Investigation Service, said: "Smart stole from the taxpayer and thought he could simply pocket the money, which should have been funding vital public services. He was wrong and is now paying the price.

“Most people pay the tax they owe, when they owe it, but a small minority think they are above the law. No matter how well you think you’ve covered your tracks, nobody is beyond our reach."

Anyone with any information about tax fraud can report it online to HMRC here, or on 0800 788 887.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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