In January 2019, HMRC launched a consultation on electronic sales suppression (ESS).
ESS is where a business manipulates its electronic records to suppress sales. This either hides transactions or reduces their value. This reduces the tax liability while still apparently providing a reliable audit trail.
HMRC said, "In recent years, it has become apparent that some software developers are developing EPoS [electronic point of sale] systems that deliberately suppress sales in order to facilitate tax evasion.”
Examples cited by HMRC include:
- a blank area of a till screen which, when touched, asked the user by how much they wished to reduce their sales
- a restaurant till system asked which tables they wished to include in the record of their takings
- a USB flash drive called zapper that allows businesses to alter data previously and correctly entered.
The call for evidence can be downloaded from here. [19.01]