HMRC is poised to punish poor record-keepers

  • Posted

Posted 02/03/2011

Under a planned clamp-down by HMRC, over two million SMEs suspected of poor record-keeping face investigation in 2011 and the years to come.

These comprise the 40% of all UK small businesses that HMRC believes may owe unpaid tax due to book-keeping failures. It is expected that some 50,000 will face investigation in 2011, and that penalties will be imposed for significant failures.

One of the biggest concerns facing such businesses is that they might face penalties under several different kinds of tax, such as income tax, PAYE, VAT, CGT and more, each of which has a separate set of penalties.

While HMRC has no clear definition of what constitutes poor book-keeping, it has said that inspectors are expected to look for ‘untidy and unanalysed’ records, such as boxes stuffed with invoices, bank statements and cheque stubs, signs of irregular updates and significant numbers of ’round’ sums.

Being investigated can be a highly stressful and costly experience; insurance is available to cover the associated costs, but it is clearly advantageous not to be a candidate for investigation in the first place. If you are being or about to be investigated, it is advisable to talk to one of our solicitors to gain an understanding of your rights if a penalty is imposed.


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