An opportunity for non-filers to bring VAT up to date

Avoid closer attention from HMRC, by bringing your VAT returns up to date.

This latest campaign from HMRC is aimed at VAT registered traders with one or more overdue returns to file. It’s designed to encourage taxpayers to come forward of their own volition to bring their affairs up to date, and with a ‘carrot and stick’ approach more favourable terms are available for those who do, but there’s a tough approach for those who don’t.

Time is running out to take advantage of the VAT Outstanding Returns campaign, as you must submit the return and pay the tax due by the single deadline date of 28 February 2013. HMRCs official line on those who comply is “if you submit your return to HMRC now you will get the best terms available”.

On the flip side of the coin, their comment on non-filers after this date is that your affairs will ‘receive closer attention from HMRC”.

However, you may not have completed and submitted returns because you are no longer trading or your turnover has fallen. You should contact HMRC, and if appropriate, de-register. HMRC run a number of campaigns, all designed to encourage businesses to keep up to date on a voluntary basis rather than them requiring a disciplinary reminder or investigation. Current and forthcoming campaigns include:

  • In addition to the VAT campaign, there is one other live campaign - the Direct Selling campaign - which also has a deadline for disclosures of 28 February 2013.
  • A Property Sales campaign is due to start in March 2013 and is aimed at undeclared sales of residential property other than a main residence.
  • The Trades Sweep-Up Campaign, a follow-up to previous campaigns aimed at plumbers, electricians, etc, was due to start in December 2012 but has been postponed. Those who were intending to make a disclosure under this campaign should contact HMRC’s Campaigns Voluntary Disclosure Helpline.