​HMRC Launches Nationwide Blitz on Suspected Till Fraud in Takeaways

​HMRC Launches Nationwide Blitz on Suspected Till Fraud in Takeaways

Posted by Emily on 22nd Apr 2024

In a bid to tackle the growing concern of Electronic Sales Suppression (ESS), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has undertaken a series of unannounced inspections across England. Over the past month, the operations targeted 17 takeaway outlets located in key cities, including London, Ipswich, Manchester, and Newcastle.

ESS tools, which can be software or devices, are not just a minor issue. They are serious threats that manipulate electronic point-of-sale records, enabling businesses to under-report sales and evade tax. These tools allow the alteration of transaction records, often by deleting sales and connecting to domestic and offshore payment platforms, which can have a significant impact on the economy.

HMRC has implemented robust measures to counteract this fraudulent activity within the takeaway industry. These include gathering data from external sources such as bank statements and transaction records from online food ordering platforms and scrutinising payments between takeaways and wholesalers.

The consequences of ESS involvement are severe. Individuals found using, supplying, making, or promoting ESS can face fines of up to £50,000 or criminal prosecution. HMRC urges those involved to come forward and use the disclosure facility on GOV.UK. Delays in disclosure may lead to higher financial penalties.

Feel free to leave your thoughts on HMRC's initiative in the comments below!