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Belfast builder convicted of £230k tax fraud

A Belfast-based contractor who defrauded the taxpayer out of £230,000 has been sentenced to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for three years, Belfast Crown Court has heard.

Gary Burns, 35, pleaded guilty to evading VAT and failing to pay income tax and National Insurance contributions.

Mr Burns supplied undeclared labour to building sites and then invoiced contractors to make it look like he was carrying out the work himself, receiving gross payments into his bank account.

He paid his undeclared workforce cash-in-hand without deductions for income tax or national insurance contributions.

Steve Tracey, assistant director for the fraud investigation service at HMRC, said: “Burns gave dishonest subcontractors an unfair advantage over other honest competitors and failed to pay the tax liabilities due.

“He knowingly deprived public services of vital funding and now has a criminal record for tax fraud.”

Mr Burns of New Lodge Road, Belfast, pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT and failing to pay income tax, Class 4 National Insurance contributions and interest at Belfast Crown Court.

He was sentenced on 29 May to 12 months’ imprisonment suspended for three years.

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