HMRC has detained two Edinburgh restaurateurs on suspicion of tax evasion as part of its taskforce operation targeting Scottish restaurants.
HMRC visited four business and domestic premises in the Scottish capital this week before detaining the two men. Although they were both interviewed and released, the department has said the investigations are 'ongoing'. Mike Wells, HMRC director of risk and intelligence, said: “These raids and detention of people suspected of not declaring income from the work they do - are part of co-ordinated activity targeting the restaurant trade in Scotland. “These taskforces will come down hard on restaurants that have deliberately chosen to break the rules and evade the taxes they should be paying. Honest businesses have absolutely nothing to worry about, however, if you deliberately seek to evade tax, HMRC can and will track you down. You will then face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well,” he said. HMRC launched a taskforce operation on the restaurant sector in May 2011, targeting London, Scotland and the North West. The department carried out investigations into 531 restaurants in November and identified £634,000 in potential unpaid tax.