Construction industry tax warning

A Lancashire tax expert has warned that the Government is stepping up its checks into taxpayers working in the construction industry.

Andrew Stephenson, senior tax and investigations manager at Pierce, the Blackburn-based business advisory and accountancy group, is warning of an increase in the number of reviews carried out by HMRC’s specialist construction teams.

He recommends that those businesses working within the scope of the Construction Industry Scheme – which sets out the rules for how payments between contractors and subcontractors must be handled – should review their work and register with HMRC if necessary.

Andrew said: “We have seen a marked increase in the number of reviews carried out by specialist teams of Construction Industry Scheme inspectors based in Manchester or even more locally.

“Their remit appears to be to raise as much money as possible by imposing large penalties for even relatively minor transgressions. Additionally, errors can – and do – count against taxpayers and can lead to the loss of gross payment status.

“We have seen several examples where businesses have not considered whether what they do comes within the scheme and as a consequence they have been hit with substantial penalties, often amounting to thousands of pounds. “Any construction businesses unsure of their responsibilities should contact their advisors for more information.”