HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has created new Taskforces in three regions of the UK order to tackle tax evasion in high risk sectors. First to be targeted are restaurants in London, the North West and Scotland.

The Taskforces are designed to tackle cases using both a criminal and civil approach. Pre-project publicity measures will used mixed media and HMRC intends to publicise prospecutions arising from Taskforce activity.

HMRC says that cases will be VAT or employer compliance led and that it will seem to manage the relationship with any agents in a proactive way.

We say...
What matters here is careful targeting, case and cost management. Past experience shows that investigations into the restaurant sector can become bogged down by business economics exercises, see Accountancy Age: Farthings Steakhouse for a useful example of an enquiry that went seriously wrong.

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