A British fisherman was sentenced to 14 months in prison for tax evasion. David McHale, who works as a self-employed fisherman in Scotland, avoided paying a tax of over £40,000, admitting to a fraudulent scheme that allowed him to evade payment.
In total, McHale failed to pay £13,089 in National Insurance and £30,738 in income tax between April 2005 and April 2014. McHale’s evasion was reportedly discovered when an investigating officer checked a fishing industry database and subsequently discovered that he had not been paying tax.
“McHale chose not to declare he was working as a share fisherman and instead pocketed income tax and National Insurance contributions, which should have been funding vital public services,” Joe Hendry, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), told the British media. “The vast majority of people working in the Scottish fishing industry are law-abiding people who pay the right taxes at the right time, but their livelihoods are undermined by those who do not play by the rules.”
The British government is increasingly working to crack down on tax evasion, including by the self-employed. The cost of tax evasion in the private sector in the UK is on the rise. It will reportedly increase to £1.2 billion in lost tax revenue by the 2022-23 tax year. Subsequently, HMRC is under mounting pressure to increase tax oversight and crack down on tax evasion and avoidance. However, it is unclear whether McHale’s arrest and prosecution are linked to any broader efforts by the government to crack down on tax evasion by the self-employed.
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