The proprietor of The Blacksmith Arms bar and restaurant near Loughborough has been found guilty of being knowingly concerned in the fraudulent evasion of VAT and cheating the public revenue, and was sentenced at Leicester Crown Court today.
Mark Hammond, aged 50, ran The Blacksmith Arms in the village of Barrow upon Soar. HMRC’s Restaurant Taskforce visited the pub/restaurant and carried out one of their well-known “cash up” exercises. Their specialists also examined the electronic till. The tax investigators analysis the till data showed that cash sales had been under-declared from the the start of trading – in 2013.
Describing what they called a “tax scam” HM Revenue and Customs said that Hammond “followed a particular pattern for the fraud. He submitted fake returns based on credit card sales only, while failing to declare cash payments”. The total amount of Corporation Tax and VAT evaded was £181,189.
Hammond was sentenced to 20 months in prison suspended for two years, and ordered to do 180 hours unpaid work. In addition, confiscation proceedings to recover the fiddled tax have begun under the Proceeds Of Crime Act.
What does this mean for me?
If you run a pub, restaurant, takeaway, or other catering establishment then you may be visited by HMRC’s Restaurant Taskforce at any time. They have a lot of resources at their disposal, and a vast amount of experience. Only a small number of their investigations lead to criminal prosecution. However, the vast majority end up as civil settlements with very harsh tax-geared penalties. The investigators in that Task force claim to have demonstrated tax fraud in 95% of the cases they have taken on. Any business receiving such a visit should seek specialist advice immediately.
How can Lynam Tax help me?
Lynam Tax Enquiry Experts each have a vast amount of experience in dealing with all types of tax investigations. In particular we have handled a large number of HMRC Restaurant Taskforce investigations in recent years. The Restaurant Taskforce team are highly experienced and very committed. You need your own dedicated specialists on your side.
*For a free, private, no obligation consultation, call
Paul Lynam: 0845 643 9997
Andrew Nutbrown: 07718 778710