The owner of three North West gift shops has been jailed for 27 months for evading £75,000 tax.
Claire Marie Greenall, 41, of Blackpool, ran three shops all called The Personal Touch in Blackburn, Wigan and Windermere selling fashion accessories and gifts.
HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) found Greenall deliberately hid sales to evade paying VAT between 2011 and 2015 despite earning more than £686,203 in sales.
Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said: “Greenall lied on her tax returns to hide her true earnings and deliberately evade VAT payments. Evading tax is an insult to honest taxpayers and steals money from vital public services.
“We are determined to tackle tax fraud such as this to create a level playing field for all businesses. If you know of anyone who is committing tax fraud you can report them by calling the HMRC Fraud Hotline on 0800 788 887.”
A HMRC investigation revealed Greenall had suppressed her sales and a forensic accountant was employed to determine the scale of the fraud from her business records.
Greenall pleaded guilty to four VAT fraud offences at Preston Crown Court on 10 October 2017 and was jailed for 27 months at the same court on 8 November 2017.
Claire Marie Greenall, DOB 13/04/1976, of Rosedale Avenue, Blackpool, a self-employed retailer, pleaded guilty to four counts of the fraudulent evasion of VAT contrary the VAT Act 1994.
Greenall’s shops were based at:
- Quarry Rigg, Bowness-on-Windermere, Windermere, Cumbria
- Market Way, The Mall, Blackburn, (also known as Lord Street Mall, Blackburn) Lancashire
- Hope Street, The Galleries, Wigan, Greater Manchester
Suspected fraud can be reported via the new HMRC Fraud hotline on 0800 788 887 or online via: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/reportingfraud/online.htm