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531 restaurants under investigation for tax evasion

531 restaurants under investigation for tax evasion

Contractor accountants will no doubt remember that HMRC established a task force earlier this year to investigate restaurants suspected of tax evasion.

Since the inception of the task force in May, the revenue has started investigations into 531 businesses.

When the task force was first announced, HMRC said it would be targeting high-risk trade sectors and locations around the UK to ensure they were complying with tax regulations.

HMRC is unable to estimate the total tax liabilities under investigation, but the 45 cases that have been processed so far have yielded £634,000, giving an average yield per case of about £14,000.

So far, the task force has been focusing on London, the North West of England and Scotland. 222 investigations have been started north of the border, 159 in the Capital and 150 in the North West. The Revenue is currently considering whether to start Civil Investigation of Fraud procedures or criminal prosecutions in 22 cases.

The Revenue intends to set up a further nine task forces in the financial year ending April 2012 and has said that more will follow.

The government is keen to stamp out tax evasion and in last year’s Spending Review it allocated additional funds to help HMRC tackle the problem. When the task force was launched, the director general of enforcement and compliance at the Revenue explained that it was taking a new approach to dealing with tax evaders quickly and efficiently.

He added that the government is giving out a clear message that tax evaders will be tracked down, and not only fined but possibly facing a criminal prosecution.

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Image: Tip me, please by olishaw

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