HMRC targets SMEs in VAT clampdown, recouping £3.3 billion in the last 12-month period

Professional Fee Protection (PfP), a professional tax advice and fee protection specialist, is urging SMEs to get their houses in order in regards to tax planning: the consequences of not doing so, it warns, could be very costly. The stark warning to SMEs comes after the release of new figures by   HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) which showed that the Revenue recouped an extra £3.3bn in under-payment of VAT from UK SMEs during the course of the last 12 months. According to PfP, that figure could be likely to rise further unless SMEs seek expert help form accountants and other tax advice professionals.  

So where has this extra tax revenue come from? Well, it appears the extra figure was recouped by two newly-created HMRC teams – the Individuals & Small Business Compliance Unit and the Wealthy & Mid-sized Business Compliance Unit. It has long been known that the Treasury is seeking new ways to maximise tax revenue, and it appears that VAT is an easy area to target. Although HM Revenues & Customs has already raised a staggering amount, there is little chance of a let-up: Kevin Igoe, managing partner at PfP, believes there will be more VAT investigations in order to maximise tax revenues, so he is urging SMEs to seek help from accountants and tax professionals to get their tax affairs in order:

“VAT investigations into SMEs have proven incredibly rewarding for HMRC. The figure will be driven by a combination of carelessness, genuine error or misunderstanding, as well as deliberate and calculated underpayment,” he said.

“Whilst the vast majority of SMEs are compliant, the actions of a rogue few mean that HMRC is likely to look closely at the tax affairs of all over the coming months. Many innocent business owners are likely to find themselves under close scrutiny as the Revenue looks to weed out any remaining underpayment.”

“Tax investigations can be lengthy, costly and incredibly disruptive to businesses – particularly for those smaller in size, who are unlikely to have in-house tax specialists or ready access to the best guidance.”

“It is therefore paramount tax records and systems are in order. Any uncertainty over when and how much VAT should be paid should be cleared up via professional advice, or clarification from HMRC itself,” he added.

If you are concerned about your business’ tax liabilities, contact Steven Glicher accountants. With our expert help we can help you get your tax affairs and finances in order. For more information, contact Steven Glicher accountants on 0161 485 8007 0r email

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