Shops at risk as HMRC crackdown on cash

Shopkeepers across the country are in HMRC’s sights following the start of a new crackdown on cash payments.

The Revenue is analysing returns made by shops and restaurants, and crosschecking them against the number of card payments they take.

It believes that such businesses may not be declaring all of the cash payments that they take. It is estimated that around a third of transactions in businesses of this sort are paid for in cash.

It is thought that HMRC will consider investigating businesses that record more than 90 per cent of their transactions as paid for by card.

Lengthy investigations on the horizon?

But there is concern that the plans could lead to length and unnecessary investigations, which can be financially damaging for small businesses.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, an Association of Chartered Accountants spokesperson said: “HMRC has made it clear it is not 100 per cent sure how good its data is. The taxman needs to be sure business owners don’t end up being wrongly vilified.”

The move is the latest in a string of HMRC initiatives aimed at cracking down on undeclared cash payments - as 17 tradesmen recently found out.

In 2010 Treasury minister David Gauke caused controversy by suggesting that consumers had a moral obligation to avoid cash-in-hand payments to workers of this sort, which he said contributes to a £2 billion ‘hidden economy’ loss to the public purse.

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