Whitby and Scarborough businesses visited after new powers brought in to fight till fraud

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers visited businesses across the country, including in Whitby and Scarborough, after new powers were introduced in the fight against till fraud.

By Duncan Atkins
Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 2:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 2:45 pm

Businesses involved in making, supplying or promoting Electronic Sales Suppression (ESS) systems that help users hide or reduce the value of till sales, now face fines of up to £50,000 and criminal investigations.

Users also face fines as HMRC increases efforts to target the tax evasion practice.

Thirty businesses were visited in total earlier in May, including shops, takeaways and restaurants, across nine counties to tackle ESS.

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New powers have been introduced in the fight against till fraud.

Two men and a woman were arrested in Nottinghamshire as part of a criminal investigation into the alleged supply of ESS software.

The men, aged 43 and 58, were arrested along with a 56-year-old woman on suspicion of fraud offences and cheating the revenue.

All three suspects have been released under investigation.

Financial Secretary to the Treasury, Lucy Frazer said: “The overwhelming majority of businesses are paying their taxes and rightly want to see HMRC stepping in where needed to ensure a level playing field for all.

“Tax crime does not stand still and neither do we - the new powers available to HMRC allow them to clamp down on ESS and help recover tax revenues to fund our vital public services.”

ESS users will either have access to specialist software or will configure their Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) device in a specific way that allows them to consciously hide true sales and the resulting tax that is due.

Sales processed through the till give the impression they have been recorded as normal, however the end of day report is deliberately manipulated behind the scenes to reduce reported takings.

As part of investigations into ESS HMRC can also recover tax evaded and launch investigations that could result in criminal convictions.

Disclosures can be made here.