As MANY as 50,000 businesses that have failed to submit VAT returns will be targeted by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) this month, with warnings that their tax affairs will be closely scrutinised.
More than 600,000 businesses must put in VAT returns each month and most do so on time. But some 50,000 will be warned that, from February 28, 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.
These businesses have a chance to get up to date and pay tax they owe by February 28. After that, HMRC will 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.
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 February 28, if you have not submitted your outstanding VAT returns and paid what you 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 outstanding VAT returns immediately; or telling HMRC if they have stopped trading or have changed their business details.
Help is available from HMRC by calling the VAT Helpline on 0845 010 9000. For further help and support about the campaign, customers can visit HMRC’s website: www.hmrc.gov.uk/campaigns/vator.htm