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Register for VAT and settle up while the fines are low

Register for VAT and settle up while the fines are low

Contractor accountants may want to encourage their clients to register for VAT if they are eligible to pay it and have not already done so.

HMRC recently launched a new campaign to persuade firms that trade above the £73,000 turnover threshold to get their house in order. Businesses that take up the offer will receive softer late payment penalties, whilst those that do not will face substantial penalties and possible criminal prosecution.

The Revenue is to send out at least 40,000 letters to companies telling them how they can register and settle up outstanding liabilities. Firms have until the end of September to make a full disclosure and the majority of them will receive the low penalty rate of 10% on their overdue VAT payment. Furthermore, they will be given the opportunity to disclose other tax arrears in return for a lower than normal penalty.

Once this amnesty had ended, HMRC will begin investigating any firms that have not made a voluntary disclosure. The Revenue has received £500 million already from voluntary disclosures made during three similar campaigns.

HMRC’s Mike Wells, has urged people to come forward and take advantage of the best possible terms. The outstanding VAT, plus any penalties, needs to be paid no later than December 31st.

HMRC has also warned taxpayers that they will not get away with defrauding the tax system. The department’s assistant director of criminal investigation, Martin Brown, said HMRC is cracking down on fraud and has received additional money from the government to help fight tax avoidance and tax evasion.

He made his comments after a “self-styled Lord”, Gregory Roberts, admitted attempting to defraud the Revenue of £3.5 million from falsified documents.

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Image: 150/365: What up Dog? by Mr.Thomas

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