Two men who bought and sold over 50 properties but failed to pay nearly £1m in tax have been jailed for more than eight years.
According to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), Madhu Bhajanehatti, 45, of London, and Himat Chana, 59, of Ilford, Essex, sold dozens of properties over an eight-year period, and evaded £991,000 in Capital Gains Tax.
Although the men disclosed some income on their Self-Assessment tax returns, they “deliberately” hid the sales of properties across London and Essex, a HMRC investigation revealed.
Richard Wilkinson, assistant director, fraud investigation service, HMRC, said: “The duo believed they were above the law and showed a blatant disregard to their obligations by failing to declare substantial income from property sales.
“It is simply unacceptable to steal from UK taxpayers. HMRC continues to pursue those who attempt to hide their income and ensure everyone pays what they owe when they owe it.”
HMRC officers discovered the men had built up their property portfolios by using the proceeds of previous sales. This was uncovered by a property taskforce set up to tackle fraud in the industry.
Bhajanehatti evaded £650,000 in tax and Chana evaded £341,000.
Bhajanehatti admitted the fraud during a hearing at Southwark Crown Court in June 2019. Chana was convicted after trial in August 2019.
On 17 January 2020, the men were sentenced to a combined total of eight years and six months in jail at the same court.