Taskforce unearths 85 London fast food outlets guilty of tax evasion

Accountants in London may be interested to learn the results of HMRC’s recent crackdown on tax evading fast food outlets in the Capital.

In the past six months, the Revenue’s fast food taskforce discovered tax evasion activities in 85 business outlets unearthing more than £9 million in undeclared tax. Although the guilty parties have not yet been named and shamed, HMRC says it’s not only small, family run businesses that have been evading taxes; multi-million pound organisations have also been anything but honest with the taxman.

When questioned, the guilty parties blamed mis-programmed tills, cashiers entering wrong information into tills and zero-rated cold takeaway products as reasons why tax had not been paid. HMRC inspectors also discovered tills that had not been programmed to register VAT on food eaten in the premises. Furthermore, when these sales were investigated further, they had mysteriously disappeared!

HMRC local Compliance SME deputy director, Sandra Wake, said the inspectors identified that some fast food outlets were deliberately misrepresenting sales and falsifying records in order to avoid paying the right amount of tax. The fast food taskforce proves that the government will come down hard on any firm that deliberately breaks the rules and evades paying the tax they owe, she added.

The fast food taskforce was launched last July and inspectors will visit more City outlets this year. HMRC expects this latest initiative to recoup several million pounds in previously undeclared taxes.

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