It has been announced that HMRC will issue thousands of letters to businesses it believes have made incorrect or suspicious claims under the Eat Out To Help Out scheme. At the beginning of November, three people were arrested in London linked to fraudulent claims.
If you, or your client, receives one of these letters you will have 60 days to respond before HMRC start a full tax investigation. These letters should not be ignored. Please contact us straight away for advice on how to proceed. Even if there have been no errors in the claims HMRC will still need to be satisfied about that. 49,000 claims had been submitted to HMRC by 30 September with HMRC stating that 4,000 businesses will receive one of these “nudge” letters.
Equally, if you know, or think, you or your clients may have made an incorrect claim please contact us for advice on how to make a disclosure to HMRC before they open an investigation or send you a letter. This will help reduce any penalties charged. If a voluntary disclosure is made within 90 days of the claim having been made then no penalty should be chargeable by HMRC.
We are also aware that HMRC has received bulk data from Just Eat and this is being used during current tax investigations or to justify opening a new enquiry into the business. If the Just Eat income has not been disclosed in the business accounts and tax returns then HMRC will seek penalties and interest for any errors. For the most serious cases HMRC may prosecute for criminal tax evasion with a risk of prison and sever financial penalties. Again, we strongly advise that you or your client come forward first if there have been any mistakes – even if it has been deliberate. We can help you obtain an immunity from prosecution in the most serious of cases or help make a voluntary disclosure for the less serious problems.