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HMRC moves on single compliance process for SMEs

A SINGLE COMPLIANCE PROCESS FOR SMEs is to be implemented by HM Revenue & Customs as it seeks to reduce the compliance burden placed on small businesses.

Under the single compliance framework, HMRC hopes to reduce the time it takes to conduct enquiries, focus the intensity of enquiries in a manner proportionate to the risks identified, and improve the quality and consistency of enquiry work across SMEs.

It is hoped the system will cater for both single-tax and cross-tax enquiries, but it will not take in issues relating to the hidden economy.

The process will utilise three separate approaches: desk-based, for cases that can be worked either by correspondence or over the telephone; visits, to provide a simplified and faster route for those cases where a face to face visit is required, and; evasion to address those cases showing evasion characteristics, requiring evasion approaches from the outset, such as surveillance or unannounced visits.

After a trial concluded in March, HMRC said the approach – emphasising openness, early dialogue and collaborative working between HMRC and taxpayers – was found to conclude direct tax enquiries more quickly, with 86% taxpayer satisfaction.

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