HMRC Bangs Up Plumber
This from the HMRC press release:
West Midlands plumber David Williams, 53, was today jailed for 12 months for evading £91,000 of income tax and national insurance during 10 years of trading as a self-employed plumber.
Nine more plumbers have been arrested and investigations are ongoing.
Adrian Farley, Assistant Director of Criminal Investigation for HMRC, said: “Today’s sentencing is a result of our drive to clamp down on tax evasion committed specifically by plumbers, gas fitters, heating engineers, electricians and others who fail to declare their earnings and pay the right tax.”
Well OK, here are the points as I see them;
1. HMRC have an irrational hatred of plumbers – why? Who knows!
2. You shouldn’t dodge tax, but just look a the figures: he underpaid less than £10k a year, it’s wrong, but it’s not the crime of the century.
3. A custodial sentence means three things:
- He doesn’t need to pay the tax.
- It will cost you – as taxpayer – around £100 a day to keep David in prison.
- When David comes out he’ll be fully qualified in lock picking, burglary and fraud.
4. The big argument of HMRC is that sentences like this are a deterrent, the judge, said: “Those tempted to avoid paying income tax must be deterred.”
This has a logic to it, but there is no evidence to suggest that sentences like this act as a deterrent, simply because the people who are breaking the law don’t think they will get caught.
Consider this: there are countries where you can get your hands cut of if you are caught shoplifting – it doesn’t stop people shop shoplifting.