Effect of tax enquiries will be ‘negligible’

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More than 1,000 new enquiries into corporate tax compliance have been
launched by HM Revenue & Customs’ Large Business Service over the past 12
months, according to a National Audit Office report.

The report into HMRC’s 2008/09 accounts shows 1,014 new enquiries were opened
using 19,744 compliance officers. This is in addition to the 3,970 existing tax
compliance enquiries.

Steve Besford, tax associate at BDO Stoy Hayward, said: ‘I would’ve expected
it to be more than that. The impact of that is going to be negligible and we
still don’t know the nature and the size of those enquiries,’ he said.

£8.2bn in corporate tax has been postponed within the Large Business Service
– of which £6.1bn is sums of £25m or more.

The report said: ‘Postponement cases can be extremely complex… the complex
issues involved often mean that it takes many years of litigation before
liability can finally be resolved.’

It also revealed that £42.8bn in corporate tax revenue was generated for the
Exchequer in 2008/09, £7.6bn of which came from the financial services sector –
a £4.8bn decrease on the previous year.

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