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hmrevenueandcustomsIan Rawlings-Cawtheray, the former co-owner of an American themed diner in Newport who lied about his business’ turnover to reduce its tax bill, has been jailed for 10 months at the Isle of Wight Crown Court today (Friday).

39-year-old Rawlings-Cawtheray from Newport provided false information about the restaurant’s finances to reduce its VAT bill and in doing so cut Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions payments for him and his wife, who was not involved with the fraud.

A HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Restaurant Taskforce, targeting South East restaurateurs suspected of not paying the correct tax, discovered the £54,000 tax fraud.

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After visiting the premises on Carisbrooke Road, HMRC examined till receipts and the diner’s cash register finding inconsistencies with what Rawlings-Cawtheray had declared on tax returns.

The Newport man was charged with fraudulently evading the payment of £29,830 in VAT between 30th November 2010 and 16th May 2014 and cheating the public revenue with intent. In addition to the £29,830 VAT fraud, Rawlings-Cawtheray pleaded guilty to £10,802 in Income Tax fraud and £13,377 in National Insurance fraud.

John Cooper, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“Ian Rawlings-Cawtheray assumed he could simply lie about his business turnover to reduce his tax bill – defrauding taxpayers in the process, but we proved otherwise.

“Fraud is unfair to honest businesses and to taxpayers; it is only right that we should clampdown on this type of crime”.

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On 3rd July Rawlings-Cawtheray pleaded guilty at Newport Crown Court, where he was today sentenced to 10 months in prison. He has already repaid £20,000 of the £54,000. Confiscation will be sought to recover the rest of the money owed.

The business is under new management and are in no way connected with this fraud.

Anyone with information about tax fraud can call the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887.

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