HMRC out for Midlands restaurants

Restaurateurs watch out, there’s a HMRC task force about.

HMRC has announced another new taskforce dedicated to examining records and clawing back underpayments.  This time Midlands restaurants are under the spotlight.

HMRC taskforce tax burden

The taskforce is one of 12 specialist teams that have been created in the past year and tasked with “undertaking intensive bursts of activity in specific high-risk trade sectors and locations”.  

The reality of the taskforce approach is that restaurant owners can expect a visit from HMRC to review their tax affairs; and they aren’t obliged to preplan their visit.  If they find anything wrong then you could face heavy fines and even criminal prosecution.

Lewis Smith & Co. director Andrew Smith believes that honest traders are being penalised by the activities of these taskforces:

“Even if your tax affairs are completely in order you’ll still have to spend time responding to their enquiries and possibly incurring professional fees.  HMRCs own research shows that small business owners are anxious about making mistakes with the tax affairs, so the arrival of the tax man on the doorstep could be pretty stressful.”

Besides activity that has already taken place in other regions of the UK the taskforce will be particularly interested in VAT on takings and how employees’ tips have been handled in terms of tax and NIC.

Should you receive a taskforce appointment or visit (whether you are restaurateur or one of the other target categories) then Lewis Smith & Co. can help.  We can guide you through the correct responses to an investigation and, if you are an existing client, make sure that all of the paperwork is pulled together.

If you are concerned about the costs of dealing with an investigation then we offer a fee protection service, which will cover all of our professional fees and give you peace of mind representation in any dealings with HMRC.

For more information call Andrew Smith or Craig Beale today on 01384 235549 or email

Lewis Smith & Co. – Accountants for Halesowen businesses