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HMRC uncovers £9m in fast food crackdown

9th Jan 2012
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HMRC has identified over £9m owed in undeclared tax as a result of its fast food outlet crackdown in London and revealed big business involvement. 

The fast food taskforce visited 85 businesses over the past six months and identified errors or tax evasion in each outlet investigated. HMRC is yet to name and shame the offenders but said it is not just small, family-run business that are guilty but also multi-million pound enterprises. 

According to the department, the wrongdoers cited mis-programmed tills, incorrect data entered into the tills and cold takeaway products (subject to zero-rated VAT) as reasons for non-payment of tax. HMRC also found that the tills were not programmed to capture the VAT on eat-in sales.

However, the government department said that when investigated further, such sales mysteriously disappeared.

Sandra Wake, deputy director Local Compliance SME said: “We identified that there is a significant problem with some fast food outlets deliberately falsifying their records and misrepresenting their true sales mix in order to avoid paying the correct taxes.

“This taskforce has shown that we will come down hard on those who have deliberately chosen to break the rules and evade the taxes they should be paying,” she added.

The department launched the taskforce in July 2011, claiming some of the city's fast food retailers were deliberately falsifying their records and misdeclaring sales levels to avoid paying tax.

HMRC advised the specialist team will conduct more visits to London’s fast food outlets in the New Year and expects to recoup many millions of pounds in undeclared taxes. 

Click here to view all sectors HMRC has targeted since it launched the taskforce initiative in 2010.


Replies (3)

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By johnjenkins
10th Jan 2012 10:17

Not surprising

but very interesting. I wonder how many illegals they caught in the process.

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By Trevor Scott
11th Jan 2012 12:45

What is the reality?

That cash handling fast food outlets would be found to be fiddling is not a surprise, but the fact that HMRC claim 100% of those investigated had issues suggests that the HMRC figures are from “business economic exercises” (we know how accurate they can be) and that (previously and presently) at least two people at HMRC simply aren't doing their job effectively.  


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the sea otter
By memyself-eye
12th Jan 2012 11:06

£106,000 per outlet


If true that says more about the UK's tax system than it does about fast food outlets in London

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