Customs follows Revenue online

The campaign is expected to be launched in September and will highlight the benefits of sending returns electronically when the scheme launches in April – including tax discounts which will be made available.

Small businesses that file their VAT returns or PAYE end of year returns over the internet and pay any tax due electronically will receive a discount of £50 or a double discount of £100 for both PAYE and VAT.

Another benefit which may be highlighted includes Customs & Excise allowing businesses that file their VAT returns over the internet a longer time to pay, although that move has still to be confirmed.

Customs began a six-month pilot scheme in March and it is understood the campaign will run when it finishes if there are no serious difficulties.A Customs spokesman said: ‘We will have to begin a campaign in the Autumn if we want people to sign up in the new year.’

It is understood Customs is aiming to have 300,000 businesses on sending returns online within 12 months of its launch – approximately one-quarter of the companies on the VAT register.

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