Sunderland window salesman avoids jail over £30,000 tax dodge

Newcastle Crown Court
Newcastle Crown Court

A window company salesman has walked free from court after a £30,000 income tax dodge.

Kevin Donoghue, who worked for Safestyle UK as a self-employed canvasser, claimed on self assessment forms to have earned £96,996 less than his true pay between 2010 and 2014.

Newcastle Crown Court heard as a result, the 45-year-old handed over £29,977 less income tax than he should have.

Donoghue, of Lunedale Avenue, Sunderland, admitted fraudulent evasion of income tax.

Judge Tim Gittins sentenced the married dad to 12 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, with a four-month night time curfew and 200 hours unpaid work.

The judge told him: "The effect of your actions in evading tax, you and people like you, is to add to the tax burden of every legitimate tax payer in the country.

"It is not simply an effect on some spurious notion of a government department.

"The money should have gone to public finances but there was also the cost of the investigation and proceedings, which no doubt add up to several thousands as well."

Prosecutor Claire Anderson told the court HMRC had launched an investigation into Donoghue's financial affairs as part of a wider probe into Safestyle UK workers, who were all self-employed at that time.

Miss Anderson said: "Over a total of a four year period, he underdeclared £96,996 in earnings, therefore meaning the total tax evaded over that four year period was £29,977."

The court heard Donoghue was jailed for four months for obtaining property by deception in 2001 in relation to a scam involving inflated home improvement prices.

He started working for Safestyle after his release from jail and has built up an impressive reputation with the firm in the 17 years since.

Alec Burns, defending, said Donoghue could repay £20,000 immediately and will pay back the rest in installments.

Mr Burns said Donoghue, who has overcome a gambling problem, still works for Safestyle and his tax affairs are now in order.

Mr Burns added: "He has worked hard to sort everything out."