Tax-evading Indian restaurant owner jailed after taxmen 'ordered curries'

Tax officers used the curry house to check customer numbers (India Picture/UIG via Getty Images)

A tax-evading curry house owner was rumbled after undercover investigators bought meals from his restaurant.

Monir Miah had been declaring only half his business and deregistered for VAT claiming his eaterie was not making enough money.

But routine checks by HMRC raised concerns and he was given the chance to put his tax affairs in order.

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However, follow-ups by tax officials revealed Miah had deliberately tried to mislead investigators over £90,000 of hidden income.

Miah, 58, was jailed for two years after admitting in court lying about his income from ‘The Crown of India’ restaurant, in Stone, Staffordshire and falsifying value-added tax (VAT) repayment claims.

HMRC traced payments, counted customers and even by ordered curries – which they checked for against records and tax returns.

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His Honour Judge Walsh told Miah: “It was an intentional act of dishonesty on your part and you were given opportunity in 2016 to come clean but declined that opportunity.

“It was a calculated dishonesty designed to achieve a significant financial benefit to yourself and a loss to the revenue.”

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Miah could have avoided the criminal prosecution had he cooperated with HMRC.

Paul Maybury, assistant director of the Fraud Investigation Service at HMRC, said: “While Miah, and his family, enjoyed the illegal untaxed income from his restaurant he was depriving public services of vital funding and gave himself an unfair advantage over his honest competitors.

“He was offered the opportunity to put his tax affairs in order through the Contractual Disclosure Facility.

“Instead he made a conscious decision to make only a partial disclosure of the tax offences he had committed.”