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A farmer and his wife have been jailed for their role in a £610,000.00 VAT fraud, after a HM Revenue and Customs investigation into their County Armagh beef cattle farm.
According to HMRC, Joseph Cassidy, a VAT-registered beef farmer from January 1995, made fraudulent VAT claims totalling £610,000.00 between July 2011 and March 2015.
Mr Cassidy and his wife Anna Cassidy, who was responsible for the farms business records, were arrested on 23 February 2016 on suspicion of VAT fraud and money laundering offences.
HMRC investigators established that Ms Cassidy held two bank accounts; a business account into which the VAT repayments were paid and a savings account in her name.
Both Ms and Mr Cassidy pleaded guilty to the fraudulent evasion of VAT and money laundering offences, following which Mr Cassidy was sentenced to 18 months and Ms Cassidy to 15 months imprisonment.
The judge ruled that each will spend half of their sentence in jail and the rest on licence.
According to HMRC, confiscation proceedings are now underway to recover the tax stolen.
Earlier this year, the tax authority said it had launched 1,007 prosecutions against individuals for tax evasion offences in 2018. It said at the time it is increasingly focusing on ‘bigger-ticket’ tax evasion cases involving businesses, as they tend to generate higher levels of additional revenue.