HMRC seeking tax evaders – restaurateurs targetted

HM Revenue & Customs has unveiled the taskforce that will form part of a £900m effort to clamp down on high earners using loopholes to lower their tax bills.

In a statement, HMRC said the first step will focus on the restaurant trade, targeting businesses in London in the coming weeks. The statement said specialist teams would undertake “intensive bursts” of compliance activity in specific high-risk trade sectors and locations across the UK. The restaurant trade in Scotland and the northwest of England will be the next areas to be targeted.

Mike Eland, director general of enforcement and compliance for HMRC, said: “Only those who choose to break the rules or deliberately evade the tax they should be paying will be targeted. Honest businesses have absolutely nothing to worry about.
“But the message is clear – if you deliberately seek to evade tax, HMRC can and will track you down and you will face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well.”

HMRC is planning to create a further nine task forces in 2011/2012 with more to follow in 2012/2013.