Businesses face VAT crackdown

Up to 50,000 businesses that have failed to submit VAT returns have been warned that their tax affairs could soon come under close scrutiny.

More than 600,000 businesses submit VAT returns each month but a new campaign will see many of those attracting greater attention from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) from 28 February.

The VAT Outstanding Returns campaign, announced on 9 January, is aimed at around 50,000 businesses that have one or more VAT returns outstanding and that 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 voluntarily pay the tax they owe by 28 February, with the potential for any penalty they need to pay being lower than if HMRC has to approach them. After that date, HMRC will look at their tax affairs much more closely.

Marian Wilson, head of HMRC campaigns, said:  “If HMRC has sent you a VAT return and you have not yet taken any action, this campaign is a reminder to bring your tax affairs up to date. But time is running out.

“After 28 February, if they have not submitted their outstanding VAT returns and paid what they owe, HMRC will use its legal powers to pursue outstanding returns and any VAT that is unpaid. Penalties, or even criminal investigation, could follow.”

People can take part in the campaign by completing and paying any outstanding VAT returns immediately or telling HMRC if they have stopped trading or changed their business details.

Link: VAT Outstanding Returns campaign details