Sheffield shop owner jailed over dodging £67,000 taxes

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A Sheffield shopkeeper who fiddled taxpayers out of more than £67,000 has been jailed for nine months.

Jason Butler, aged 41, failed to declare the tax from earnings he made from several businesses, principally a newsagent and general store at Wollaton Road, Bradway.

He was initially investigated two years ago on suspicion of laundering money his late brother, Christopher, made from drug dealing.

But his brother committed suicide late last year and court proceedings against his sibling were dropped.

Butler admitted failing to pay tax on an income of £200,000 between January 2004 and December 2013 when he appeared at Sheffield Crown Court.

Nick Worsley, prosecuting, said Butler’s brother was a drug dealer and a hearing to confiscate his assets was underway before his suicide.

He described Butler as a ‘jack of all trades’ and the owner of a number of properties bought with cash.

He ran the store and carried out other work but never declared his earnings to HM Revenue and Customs.

During the period more than £247,000 was spent on developing properties he owned but Mr Worsley said his plea to nearer £200,000 was acceptable to the prosecution.

His tax evasion only came to light when police began investigating his brother’s activities.

It was calculated that the amount of tax and national insurance not declared by Butler came to £67,231.

He was jailed in 1997 for 18 months at the same court for supplying amphetamines and cannabis.

Butler, of Spinkhill Road, Woodthorpe, who has a partner and a son, admitted tax evasion.

Paul O’Shea, defending, said the death of his brother was ‘completely unforeseen’ and it had a devastating impact on him. He said his client had saved prosecutors a huge amount of time and paperwork by pleading guilty.

Judge Mark Gargan said the offence to which he had admitted was ‘very different’ to the initial suspicion that he had laundered drug money.

But he said: “It reflects a deliberate and determined avoidance of tax revenue due to the public purse. It took place during a time of austerity and places the burden of paying on to other taxpayers.”