A DOUBLE-GLAZING salesman who cheated the taxman out of tens of thousands of pounds has been given time to pay it back because he had VAT and legal bills to pay.

Mark Coates was ordered to hand over almost £27,000 he failed to pay into the public purse when he appeared before a judge at a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing.

The 31-year-old, of Damson Path, Taw Hill, dodged tax for eight years by not completing his self assessment forms correctly.
Despite having the means to settle the order he was given time after saying his cash had been used up on other tax bills, and paying his lawyers.

Jonathan Lewis, defending, told Swindon Crown Court his client had £14,000 which he could pay within seven says, but he needed longer to get his hands on the rest.

He said Coates had to pay VAT bills as well as the solicitor whose submissions to the court had helped to keep him out of prison when he was sentenced last September.

Finding he benefitted from crime by £26,866 Judge Robert Pawson ordered the confiscation of the full amount.

He gave Coates a week to hand over the £14,000 and a further two months to get together the rest of the money.

And he warned that if each amount wasn’t paid on time he would face two four-and-a-half-month jail terms, which would be consecutive.

The judge pointed out that even if he were to get the nine months for handing over nothing he would still owe the money.

Coates worked for Safestyle Windows when an investigation in 2015 found he had failed to declare the true figures on his tax forms, dodging thousands of pounds he should have paid to the state.

After his self-assessment returns were examined it was initially thought that he had failed to hand over about £80,000 over the previous eight years.

But once forensic accountants, for both defence and prosecution, had gone through all the paperwork the actual figure was found to be in the region of £21,500.

Coates, initially pleaded not guilty to one count of cheating the public revenue when he appeared before a judge in February 2016.

But before a jury could be sworn in on the day of trial he changed his plea to admit what he had done, but at a lower level.

He said his accounts were chaotic and he was paid in a sporadic way. He also claimed some of the paperwork he had  hoped to put forward in his defence had been destroyed in a fire at work.

Last September he was put on an 18-month jail term suspended for two years and told to do 180 hours of unpaid work. 

He was also landed with a bill for £4,200 towards the costs of the case.
The court heard he had children aged six and nine and has a large mortgage and other debts to pay.