HMRC to grill London’s fast food outlets

Accountants in London may be interested to learn that fast food retailers in the Capital are facing a grilling from HMRC after suspicions were raised that some are cooking the books as well as the food.

The Revenue’s latest taskforce will focus on outlets it thinks are not declaring accurate sales levels in order to minimise the amount of tax they pay.

Recently, HMRC focused on the restaurant trade in the Capital and the department’s director of risk and intelligence, Mike Wells, has promised that businesses that set out to indulge in tax evasion will be tracked down, fined and possibly prosecuted.

The fast food industry seems to have been high on HMRC’s target list this year. A few months ago, the Revenue refuted claims that a European Union case, which involved a German sausage seller, could mean that suppliers of hot food paid less in VAT.

Meanwhile, the long running saga to decide the residency status of Robert Gaines-Cooper could be coming to an end. The case reached the Supreme Court last week and a decision is expected within the next 3 months.

Multi-millionaire businessman Gaines-Cooper moved to the Seychelles and did not spend more than 91 days a year in the UK, as per HMRC guidance. Despite this, the Revenue decided that he was a resident because he had close connections with this country, including a large estate in Ascot.

Last month, the government issued a consultation on a new statutory residency test that will provide certainty as to whom is classed as a UK resident for the purposes of taxation.

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