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VAT crackdown on the way

The VAT man is on the prowl - that's the message to Shropshire companies that may be flouting the law by failing to register for the scheme.

Martyn Bramwell, from Dyke Yaxley Chartered Accountants in Shrewsbury, said HM Revenue & Customs was launching a crackdown on firms whcih were trading above the VAT threshold, but had not signed up for the scheme.

"Any business with a turnover of more than £73,000 should be registered for VAT," he said.

"Last time HMRC launched a crackdown, it targeted everyone from offshore investors to medical professionals, and people working in the plumbing industry.

"On this occasion, they have indicated they will offer businesses that come forward voluntarily, by the end of September 2011, lower penalties for prompt action - or in some cases no penalties at all.

"We are happy to advise businesses on whether they may be affected, and would recommend they take action swiftly."

The amnesty gives companies not registed for VAT a chance to get their business affairs in order.

Martyn added: "Once the amnesty is finished, HMRC intends to target the businesses it believes are trading over the threshold.

"Businesses that remain unregistered after the amnesty period will face a detailed investigation into their tax affairs and will be subject to substantial penalties and interest.

"They will also have to pay the tax due too, if it is found they are breaching the regulations."

In previous crackdowns, the Revenue has raised over £500 million through voluntary disclosure of liabilities, plus a further £100 million through follow-up investigations.

Dyke Yaxley's Martyn Bramwell

Martyn Bramwell