The Deputy President of the Chartered Institute of Taxation (CIOT), Anthony Thomas, said that “HMRC’s reassurance that this is a ‘test and learn’ pilot where no penalties will be levelled, other than in exceptional circumstances, is welcome. However they should have made this clear to tax advisers, business organisations and, above all, those taxpayers – represented and unrepresented – they are targeting, from the outset. By not doing this HMRC gave the strong impression that they were proceeding with this project prematurely and without listening to consultees.”
According to the HMRC the Business Record Checks programme is intended to bring about a ‘major improvement’ in the standard of small business record keeping. Earlier this year Brian Redford of the HM Revenue and Customs said that “It may seem like a challenge, particularly when you’re starting out, but keeping good records will bring real advantages to your business. Get a proper system in place and you’ll not only be confident that you are paying the right tax, but you’ll keep up-to-date with how much you owe suppliers and how much you are owed. Later this year, HMRC will start a programme of Business Records Checks that will look at the adequacy and accuracy of business records in SMEs to bring about a major improvement in the standard of record-keeping. Now is the time to invest a bit of effort to make sure your business records are perfect.”
The checks could see professional freelance contractors running a one man Limited Company targeted. Contractors are being urged to make sure they are keeping appropriate records and are ideally working with a reputable accountant that specialises in Contractor accounts.
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