HM Revenue and Customs
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HMRC tackles London’s fast food VAT dodgers
A new taskforce to tackle VAT abuse in London’s fast food outlets was announced today by HM Revenue & Customs (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.
Mike Wells, HMRC's Director of Risk and Intelligence, said:
“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.
“This taskforce comes hard on the heels of one launched last month targeting the restaurant sector in London. If you deliberately seek to evade tax HMRC can and will track you down, and you’ll face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”
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.
If you are aware of someone who is evading their taxes you can tell us via the Tax Evasion Hotline by phone on 0800 788 887, via the email hotline, or by post full details can be found at www.hmrc.gov.uk
Notes for editors
Taskforces bring together various HMRC compliance and enforcement teams for intensive bursts of activity targeted at specific sectors and locations where there is evidence of high risk of tax evasion. The first taskforces were launched targeted the restaurant trade on 12 May 2011.
The taskforces are part of the department’s broader work to tackle evasion and avoidance, including Managing Deliberate Defaulters and offshore penalties.
Compliance activity through taskforces is 1:1 and targets the highest-risk cases in that sector and location, typically focusing on groups of up to around 600 customers in specific locations.
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