Tax headache for UK firms as HMRC changed its bank details without telling them

MILLIONS of pounds in corporate taxes have not been paid to the government for months, as HMRC failed to notify some businesses that it had changed its bank account details, it has been alleged.

The Daily Telegraph has reported that a number of large businesses have been handed late payment notices by HMRC despite these firms attempting to pay their fair share of tax.

In February, the government department changed its International Bank Account Number (IBAN) without informing a number of UK businesses that use the method to pay their taxes.

According to the newspaper, HMRC failed to notify some British companies about the changes, despite sending out an employee bulletin last year.

Tina Riches, a partner at Smith and Williamson, told the newspaper that some of her clients received letters that notified them about the change, but because they were so poorly written, they assumed that the letters were part of a scam and discarded them.

“The change certainly seemed to have been poorly managed as businesses have not had sufficient warning,” explained Riches.

“These cases may just be the tip of the iceberg as although there was some advance notice in a couple of HMRC publications, those notices did not include the vital BAN number businesses need to make payments. If it is, then there could be a significant hole in the government’s revenues, which is obviously a big problem.”

This latest round of criticism comes in the middle of HMRC’s major restructuring project, which looks to close 170 offices in favour of 13 regional centres, while also cutting staff numbers in favour of a digital tax system. Last month HMRC confirmed that the consultation papers for its Making Tax Digital initiative were to be delayed until after the EU referendum.

A HMRC spokesperson told Accountancy Age: “The vast majority of taxpayers are completely unaffected and don’t need to do anything differently when sending payment to HMRC. Businesses making payments from abroad simply need to update their online banking payment details. Anyone needing advice is welcome to contact us.”

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