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In May 2011, HM Revenue & Customs targeted restaurants in Scotland and London and the North West to discover possible tax cheats. With 531 restaurants to investigate, HMRC have recovered £634,050 of unpaid tax from just 45 of the restaurants. Of these, 22 are liable to prosecution, either civil or criminal.

The restaurants which have been investigated will face an average bill of £14,000 each, from less than 10 percent of the total number of restaurants being investigated. The number of restaurants involved in tax avoidance was far greater in Scotland, although there are more restaurants in London. HMRC are increasing the investigations, to include a further six areas of the UK. HMRC haven’t provided information of how they had utilised their available task force resources.

The government have boosted the funds for compliance by £900 million, which they expect to be utilised by HMRC to collect £7 billion before 2014, lost through tax evasion, fraud and avoidance. HMRC have increased activity regarding compliance, with units being created to target other areas including tutors and eBay traders. It was announced on the 1st November, that HMRC will be concentrating on owners of other homes in popular holiday destinations like Spain and France, to catch tax cheats.

Tax partner at Wilkins Kennedy, Peter Goodman said:

“Where they do these reviews they are looking at all aspects of taxation. The records you take, proper payments of VAT, application of payroll and expenses that are wholly for the purpose of the business.”

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