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BRCs binned by HMRC, contractors rejoice

Business Record Checks, or BRCs, have been binned by Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs after finding that they’re just not effective.

Proof positive that accountants have been doing their job and doing it well, HMRC has decided to abolish BRCs by citing that it’s been nearly impossible to find non-complient firms that need to undergo these checks. In other words – well, this is a paraphrase, of course – the scheme wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.

You’d be forgiven if you’d never heard of the BRC programme, considering all this. However, if you’re curious, BRCs were compliance measures that the taxman used to employ to ensure that firms of all types were keeping proper expense and income records to make taxation easier and more accurate. Last year there was a record number of BRCs run, yet despite the sheer volume of checks, more than three out of every four companies were well within the guidelines of keeping records. This seems to have been the final straw as far as HMRC was concerned – or perhaps the final nail in the coffin – as now the taxman has decided to scrap the entire thing.


HMRC is of course spinning the move as a resounding success, claiming that BRC was influential in encouraging firms to keep better financial records. Meanwhile I’m much more ready to put roses at the feet of our nation’s cadre of contractor accountants working overtime to ensure that the businesses they work for are in compliance with all of the tax authority’s many rules and regulations. Of course, the Government is keen to take credit for this as usual, but what can you do about that realistically?

Still, it’s good to know that there’s just one less regulation that you’ll need to comply with if you’re a small business owner.  So far there doesn’t seem to be any indication that the Government will be replacing BRCs with some other scheme, half-baked or fully developed, to ensure that companies are keeping accurate financial records, but there’s good money that HMRC will be announcing some sort of other “new and improved” compliance measure that’s sure to be a plague on us for years to come. Your guess is as good as mine as to what kind of form it’s going to take.

Of course, if you’re one of the lucky few actively going through a BRC right now, you’re not off the hook – you’ll still have to finish the entire process from soup to nuts. At least you can rest assured you’ll be one of the last people in the country to actually have to put up with it. Cold comfort I’m sure, but better than nothing.


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