Doncaster debt collector admits tax fraud

Scales of justice
Scales of justice

A former Doncaster debt collector has been convicted of tax fraud – after failing to declare earnings of £109,000.

Sheffield Crown Court heard Joanne Staniforth, aged 45, began working as a self-employed debt collector for Provident, after she ran up debts with the company of more than £10,000.

Staniforth, of Kilnhurst Road, Mexborough, worked for the payday lender across South Yorkshire for five years, during which time the mum-of-one collected earnings of £109,000, and evaded an income tax bill of £26,841.40, after business expenses had been taken into account.

Ian Goldback, mitigating, yesterday told the court Staniforth did not realise she was required by law to declare her earnings for three of the five years she worked for Provident.

He said Staniforth, who sobbed throughout the hearing, had experienced the ‘most difficult life you could possibly envision’, and did not live the high life as a result of her tax evasion, but instead used it as a means of survival during an economic downturn.

The court heard Staniforth, who admitted income tax evasion, currently cares for her unwell mother and son.

Judge Mark Gargan sentenced Staniforth to 16 months in prison, suspended for 12 months and handed her a 10 month curfew order.

An order for compensation was not made due to Staniforth’s lack of assets.

However, Judge Gargan told the court this may be a course of action pursued by HM Revenue & Customs through civil courts.