HMRC moves goalposts for cheque payers

Cheque payments to HMRC will have to be sent in earlier from next month to
avoid penalties after the taxman changed its rules.

From the 1 April, cheque payments will not be treated as received until the
day the cheque clears, rather than when it arrives.

“This means if you are posting a cheque to HMRC, you should allow enough time
for the post to arrive and for the cheque to clear to avoid the risk of a late
payment penalty,” said Adrian Houstoun, a VAT partner at Kingston Smith.

The move comes as HMRC tries to encourage more people towards electronic

“With businesses now relying on HMRC’s efficiency to bank their cheques
promptly, electronic payment methods are likely to look much more attractive,”
said Houstoun. “Most businesses have an extra seven days after the payment due
date to pay their VAT electronically, while those paying by cheque will have to
submit it a week before the due date.”

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