East Anglia crackdown on fast food tax evasion

Tax. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire

Tax. Photo credit should read: PA/PA Wire - Credit: PA

More than £5m in unpaid tax is expected to be recouped as part of crackdown on East Anglia's fast-food industry.

A taskforce has been launched by HM Revenue and Customs as part of a £917m nationwide campaign to raise £7bn per year in unpaid taxes by 2014.

And the team are set to visit Norfolk and Suffolk businesses in the near future to carry out a full review of their tax records and extensive investigations into their trade.

It comes as taskforces were launched across the country yesterday to tackle tax evasion in Northern Ireland, self-assessment repayments in London and the South East, and the jewellery trade in the Midlands.

John Weston, tax expert at Norwich-based business advisers Grant Thornton's, said he expected HMRC's campaign to be extensive.

He said: 'HMRC has access to a full range of civil and criminal sanctions to use against those found to be evading tax. To deter others from tax evasion, taskforces will also publish the names of tax evaders.

'If a business is investigated by one of HMRC's taskforces it can be stressful, time consuming and will involve extensive searches through business and tax records.

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'Traders who have not registered with HMRC, or who have concerns that they may have understated the profits they have declared, should consider making a disclosure to HMRC as soon as possible to reduce the chance of a potential prosecution and to mitigate the penalty which may be due.'

Jennie Granger, director general enforcement and compliance, said: 'The message is clear – if you choose to defraud the tax system or seek to evade tax, we can and will track you down.'