London restaurants: The taxman is coming for you!

The HM Revenue and Customs spotlight is currently on cash businesses, those small companies that have ample opportunity to sweep little bits of business under the carpet.

An HMRC task force has been drafted in to claw back hidden, stolen and under-the-counter revenues. Restaurants are just the first sector to feel the heat; bars, hairdressers, plumbers, hotels et al will soon follow. This is a grace period - while restaurants dominate the HMRC's focus - for these businesses to scrutinise their earnings and make sure everything is declared and all accounts are in order.

Mike Eland, HMRC director general enforcement and compliance, says: "These task forces are a new approach which uses HMRC's resources to identify and tackle rule-breakers and evaders swiftly and effectively.

"Only those who choose to break the rules, or deliberately evade the tax they should be paying, will be targeted. Honest businesses have absolutely nothing to worry about.

"But the message is clear - 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."

You have been warned...

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