Greengates Builders Merchants

Builder Caught Tax Dodging

A TAX-dodging builder who took cash-in-hand for his entire career told HMRC inspectors when they knocked on his door, ‘I’ve been waiting for you for 27 years.’

Harry Rowbottom, 58, worked as a self-employed builder, plumber and gas installer after setting up his own business in the early 1980s.

No job was too small... but he was always paid in cash, which he failed to declare to the taxman for a staggering 27 years.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs estimated he owed £117,602, made up of £64,674 in unpaid income tax and national insurance, plus interest.

However, the complete lack of paperwork and proof of the number of jobs he was paid for means the true extent of his tax evasion may have been signi­fic­antly higher.

When inves­tigators knocked on his door during routine inquiries to catch tax-dodging tradesmen, he immediately admitted respon­sibility, and said: ‘I’ve been waiting for you for 27 years.’

His lawyer said he was relieved finally to be caught.

Rowbottom was jailed for 14 months at Grimsby Crown Court after pleading guilty to fraud, and was ordered to pay his dues in full or face a longer term behind bars.

He was also ordered to pay £1,500 costs.

Gordon Stables, prosecuting, told the court he was caught by an HMRC campaign centred on self-assessment by plumbers.

The drive has already led to £4million in outstanding tax being paid back.

The court heard there was evidence of Rowbottom working around Barton-upon-Humber, Lincoln­shire, where he lived with his partner, but bank accounts revealed that he apparently had no regular source of income.

He was arrested in November last year and admitted working for cash that was never paid into a bank account.

He also admitted not keeping proper records for a property he had owned since 2001. He also owned plots of land.

Richard Hackfath, defending, said Rowbottom had sufficient assets to pay in full and would do so as soon as possible.

“A story everyone should be aware off” says Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire.

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