A former HMRC tax officer who set up an online business trading games consoles, video games and DVDs has been sentenced for stealing more than £12,000 from the public purse.
Foster set up the business after he was sacked from a HMRC contact centre in Country Durham in 2009.
Neil James Foster fraudulently declared £31,000 in business losses which he used to claim income tax repayments of £12,319. Alongside his online business, Foster also worked for an energy company, earning a salary with tax deducted through PAYE.
Foster submitted self-assessment forms fraudulently showing his business had made financial losses. The alleged losses were offset against tax he had already paid through his employment with the energy company, and Foster and received the £12,000 in tax refunds.
Foster was sentenced to eight months in prison - suspended for 12 months - for his fraudulent pursuits. He was also ordered to pay £165 in costs at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court.
Diane Donnelly, HMRC’s assistant director of criminal investigation, said in a statement, “As someone who used to work for HMRC, Foster knew that lying on his tax return, with the sole aim of lining his own pockets, was going to land him in court”.