VAT clampdown warning for businesses

Businesses are being warned that that missing one or more VAT return will lead to a greater risk of investigation by HM Revenue and Customs in a new campaign launched this month.

More than 600,000 businesses have to put in VAT returns each month and most do so on time. But in a new campaign some 50,000 will be warned that, from 28 February, their tax affairs will attract greater attention.

The VAT Outstanding Returns campaign is aimed at businesses that have one or more VAT return outstanding, and have been told to submit their returns but have not done so. Some will have received an assessment of VAT for these periods.

These businesses are being given an opportunity to get up to date and pay the tax they owe by 28 February. After that, HMRC will target them and take a much closer look at their tax affairs. By using this campaign to come forward voluntarily, they might receive better terms, as any penalty they pay may be lower than if HMRC comes to them first.

We see many businesses that don’t file their VAT returns because they know that they  simply cannot afford the VAT that they owe. But burying your head in the sand and hoping that HMRC will go away is not an option – particularly as it may lead to a more in-depth, time-consuming and potentially expensive investigation into all the tax affairs of a business.

We always recommend that a business files its tax returns on time, even if the tax is unaffordable. We can then help a business to reach an agreement with HMRC over the repayment of the tax, which can be deferred for a number of years. In many circumstances, we can also negotiate a reduction in the tax bill, writing off tax that is simply unaffordable.

If you would like to find out more about how we can help deal with unaffordable tax bills, call Paul Moorhead at Moorhead Savage today on 01709 331300.