Tax-dodging fast food restaurants in London can expect a visit from the taxman.
That was the message from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which has set up a new taskforce to tackle the issue.
HMRC said it had identified a problem with some fast food outlets deliberately falsifying their records and mis-declaring their true sales levels in order to avoid paying the correct taxes.
Mike Wells, HMRC's director of risk and intelligence, said: "This taskforce will come down hard on fast food outlets that have chosen to break the rules and evade the taxes they should be paying. Honest businesses have absolutely nothing to worry about.
"This taskforce comes hard on the heels of one launched last month targeting the restaurant sector in London. If you deliberately seek to evade tax HMRC can and will track you down, and you'll face not only a heavy fine, but possibly a criminal prosecution as well."
This is the fourth taskforce launched by HMRC since May 2011. HMRC is planning a further nine taskforces in 2011/12, with more to follow in 2012/13. The taskforces come as a result of the Government's £900m spending review investment to tackle tax evasion, avoidance and fraud from 2011/12, which aims to raise an additional £7bn each year by 2014/15.
HMRC urged businesses who are aware of someone evading their taxes to call the Tax Evasion Hotline on 0800 788 887, or contact them via email, or by post.
By Neil Gerrard
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