45 restaurants have evaded a total of £634,050 and 22 restaurants are already being considered for criminal prosecution in HMRC’s investigation of 531 restaurants suspected of evading tax…

In their major crackdown on tax evasion in the UK, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are investigating 531 UK restaurants located in the North West, London and Scotland.

So far, 159 restaurants in London have been investigated, 150 in the Northwest and 222 in Scotland.

It is said the restaurant campaign has already yielded over £600,000 from less than 10 per cent of the 531 restaurants currently under investigation by the taxman.

45 restaurants under investigation evaded an average of £14,000 each and 22 are now facing possible criminal prosecution.

HMRC’s tax evasion investigations into UK restaurants is part of their grander scheme to crackdown on tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax fraud in a bid to have recover £7bn tax per year by 2014.

Backed by Government funding of £900m, HMRC have set up new specialist task forces to perform tax investigations into UK businesses and the self-employed.

Groups that have already been targeted in HMRC’s crackdown on tax evasion, tax avoidance and tax fraud include plumbers, online traders and most recently private tutors.

Upon announcing the new specialist unit in May 2011, Mike Eland, Director of General Enforcement and Compliance at HMRC, said:

“These task forces are a new approach which uses HMRC’s resources to identify and tackle rule-breakers and evaders swiftly and effectively.

“Only those who choose to break the rules, or deliberately evade the tax they should be paying, will be targeted. Honest businesses have nothing to fear.

“The message is clear, if you deliberately seek to evade tax, HMRC can and will track you down and you’ll face not only a heavy fine but possible criminal prosecution as well.”

So far, the majority of tax evading restaurants HMRC have discovered are located in Scotland. The Revenue is now said to be extending tax investigations of restaurants suspected of tax evasion to a further six parts of the UK.

Kevin Kinsella, of KinsellaTax, said:

“I would urge any restaurant owners who have not yet been targeted by HMRC to make sure their financial records are up to date, including VAT payments, payroll and business expenses, as these transactions will come under scrutiny by the tax man should HMRC suspect tax evasion and launch a tax investigation into their affairs.

“If you receive a letter from HMRC inviting you to a meeting or asking you to call them, make sure you contact KinsellaTax who will speak to HMRC on your behalf.”

Are you a restaurant owner suspected of tax evasion by HMRC?

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