Eateries suspected of tax evasion

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Tax authorities from all over Norway flew into Oslo last month to check out whether local restaurants, cafés and fast-food joints were properly reporting their income. Many were not, and around 50 have been reported to the police.

The tax officials posed as regular diners who paid cash for their meals and collected a receipt, reports newspaper Aftenposten. A week later, the tax officials returned to the roughly 250 places where they’d eaten, armed with their receipts and now presenting themselves as representatives of the state tax authority Skatteetaten. They demanded to check whether their cash purchases had been registered in the restaurants’ payment system.

The result is that around half of the eating establishments will now be forced to undergo thorough tax audits, after their proprietors couldn’t document that cash payments had been registered. That means the money, including VAT taxes collected from the customers, likely would amount to unreported revenues, raising suspicions of tax evasion.

“The situation was much worse than we’d expected,” Nina Schanke Funnemark in the tax office’s legal department told Aftenposten. None of the eating establishments was identified, at least not yet. Representatives for Norway’s hotel and restaurant industry called the results of the tax officials’ moveable feast “alarming.”

Views and News staff