American Sweet Shops On Oxford Street Investigated For Tax Scam
13 Jun 2022
Up to 30 American sweet shops on Oxford Street are under investigation by Westminster Council, all believed to be carrying out tax scams.
£7.9 million in missing business rates, has caught the attention of local authorities, according to the Mail Online.
The candy shops avoided stumping up the full business rates by subletting the property from an intermediary firm, rather than the freeholder or long leaseholder, the council has claimed.
In the past months Westminster Council seized around £474,000 in counterfeit and illegal goods from the stores and in one week found almost 4,500 disposable vapes with excessive levels of nicotine or not conforming to UK standards.
The shops do not appear to be “commercially viable”, the council said in a statement.
It added: “We believe these properties are used to avoid business rate bills and possibly commit other offences.”
Councillor Adam Hug said they were “a threat to the status” of Oxford Street.
“They are not only an eyesore; they are a threat to the status and value of what is supposed to be the nation’s premier shopping street,” he said.
“The problem is that owners of buildings are turning a blind eye to those who sublet them as it means they are not liable for business rates,”
“This needs to stop and we will be stepping up pressure on landlords to make it clear they are responsible for Oxford Street being overrun with these kinds of stores,”
“The people selling overpriced and often out-of-date sweets are cheating the UK taxpayer and very often swindling their customers into the bargain.”