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UK Warns Businesses On Outstanding VAT Returns

by Robert Lee, Tax-News.com, London

10 January 2013


The UK tax authority, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), has warned that the tax affairs of as many as 50,000 businesses that have failed to submit VAT returns will be closely scrutinized unless they pay what they owe by February 28.

The warning has been issued as part of the HMRC VAT Outstanding Returns campaign. According to Marian Wilson, Head of HMRC Campaigns, "If HMRC has sent you a VAT return and you have not yet taken any action, this campaign is a reminder to bring your tax affairs up to date." After the end of February, "HMRC will use its legal powers to pursue outstanding returns and any VAT that is unpaid. Penalties, or even criminal investigation, could follow." HMRC urges businesses to complete and pay their VAT returns immediately, or to let HMRC know if they have stopped trading or have changed their business details.

More than 600,000 businesses have to put in VAT returns each month.

Nearly GBP540m (USD866m) has been raised by HMRC from campaigns, and a further GBP137m from follow-up activity. Other campaigns have targeted offshore investments, medical professionals, plumbers, coaches and tutors, electricians, online traders, higher rate taxpayers with outstanding returns, and direct sellers.

TAGS: compliance | tax | business | value added tax (VAT) | tax compliance | United Kingdom

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