Taxman to pilot single compliance checks

THE TAXMAN has announced a pilot that will combine compliance checks for a range of taxes into a single process for businesses.

The “single compliance process” will prevent businesses from having to undergo separate checks for VAT, income tax, National Insurance and the like. This “more holistic” approach will reduce HM Revenue & Customs’ costs and improve customer experiences, it said.

The trials will begin on 1 June and will run for six months in ten areas across the UK: Reading/Slough, Newcastle, Warrington, York, Exeter, London Euston and Southampton in England; Cardiff in Wales; Belfast and Edinburgh/Dundee. HMRC will look to roll this out nationally from January 2012 if the trials prove successful.

David Gauke, Exchequer secretary to the Treasury, said: “This government is committed to relieving the burden on businesses. We know that agents, individuals and businesses find some of HMRC’s current compliance practices drawn out and costly. A single compliance process could help HMRC improve the customer experience and reduce costs.

“HMRC is working directly with agents via the Compliance Reform Forum to help develop it, and will continue to work with them during the pilots.”

However, Baker Tilly said the announcement was “surprising, given the criticism it received for failing to adequately publicise its last pilot on business records checks”.

The firm said that further clarification was needed before the pilot begins. There was a lack of detail about whether the visits covered all taxes, or just one to determine the business’s behaviour.

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