By Max Clarke

VAT dodgers among London’s fast food outlets are to be targets of HM Revenue & Customs’ latest tax crackdown.

HMRC has announced the latest in an ever-increasing stream of initiatives designed to close the tax gap,” commented Baker Tilly’s tax chief, George Bull, noting the four similar crackdowns announced in the past two months by HMRC.

Previous taskforces set up to bolster tax revenues have included tutors, and general VAT avoidance amongst unregistered smaller enterprises.

“This taskforce will come down hard on fast food outlets that have chosen to break the rules and evade the taxes they should be paying. Honest businesses have absolutely nothing to worry about,” assures Mike Wells,
Director of Risk and Intelligence at the HMRC.

HMRC has identified that there is a problem with some fast food outlets deliberately falsifying their records and mis-declaring their true sales levels in order to avoid paying the correct taxes.

This is the 4th taskforce launched by HMRC since May 2011. HMRC is planning a further nine taskforces in 2011/12, with more to follow in 2012/13. The taskforces come as a result of the Government’s £900m spending review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011/12, which aims to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15.

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