HMRC has collected an additional £3.3bn from SMEs following inquiries into underpaid VAT over the past year, according to tax investigation insurance specialists PfP.
PfP said that the investigations had been carried out by two newly created teams at HMRC: the Individuals & Small Business Compliance unit, and the Wealthy & Mid-sized Business Compliance unit. The company said that VAT is a key area of focus for HMRC, with further inquiries are likely to follow.
Kevin Igoe, managing partner of PfP said: “VAT investigations into SMEs have proven incredibly rewarding for HMRC.
“The figure will be driven by a combination of carelessness, genuine error or misunderstanding, as well as deliberate and calculated underpayment.
“Whilst the vast majority of SMEs are compliant, the actions of a rogue few mean that HMRC is likely to look closely at the tax affairs of all over the coming months. Many innocent businessowners are likely to find themselves under close scrutiny as the Revenue looks to weed out any remaining underpayment.
“It is therefore paramount tax records and systems are in order. Any uncertainty over when and how much VAT should be paid should be cleared up via professional advice, or clarification from HMRC itself.”
Nicholas Hallam of Accordance explores the European Commission's VAT agenda following the recent release of the Commission's White Paper on the Future of Europe