Anger at taxman's on the spot checks
SMALL business owners have been upset by an "unprofessional" on the spot swoop by the taxman.
Some in Nailsworth have been angered by the way Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has implemented a drive to recover more tax revenue.
One said a HMRC inspector read aloud what her business's turnover was, in front of a shopful of customers, and another said his staff felt uncomfortable at the grilling they were subjected to.
"It was quite aggressive," she said. "They asked to see my books but I don't keep them in the shop. Then they asked what my average takings were, in front of customers."
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A staff member showed the inspectors a figure, she said.
"Then he proceeded to read it out loud. That is wholly unprofessional, especially in a small town. Obviously I don't mind showing HMRC my books and anything else they want to see, and I understand why it's done.
She did not want to be named because she feared she may be singled out again, as did another food outlet owner.
HMRC confirmed it has powers to look at books and records, but if asked to leave would make an appointment for seven days later.
Lisa Billard of HMRC said: "We are carrying out checks on grocery and retail businesses in Nailsworth, and the wider south west, to ensure tax obligations are being met and correct taxes paid. These visits may take place when premises are open and customers being served, but we always aim to carry out these checks in a courteous and professional manner.
"We would always investigate any complaints received about the way these checks are conducted by our officers."
For more on this story, see tomorrow's Stroud Life