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The latest initiative launched by HM Revenue & Customs is the fast food industry in London. The taskforce at HMRC will crack down on London’s fast food outlets who are guilty of tax evasion. According to HMRC, it had acquired new evidence that suggests some of the outlets had deliberately kept false business records with lower levels of sales so that they would remain just below the threshold for Value Added Tax, currently £73,000.

HMRC will initially investigate fast food outlets in London, closely followed by restaurants in Scotland which is also deemed to be a high risk sector. According to the director of risk and intelligence at HMRC, Mike Wells, honest businesses don’t have to worry as they are declaring their income honestly. It is only the fast food establishments, which have chosen to deliberately falsify records, who will be targeted. Mike Wells said:

“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.”

Since May 2011, there have been four taskforces launched by HMRC and there will be nine more during the 2011-12 tax year. There will be more of the same in 2013, as part of the governments crack down on tax evasion, fraud and avoidance. With funding of £900 million from the government, HMRC is expecting to collect an extra £7 billion every year till 2014-15.

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