HM Revenue and Customs have gradually been trying to standardise the tax system across all the different taxes. From the 1st April 2010 further changes have come in to place in a bid to make the tax system more consistent.

Cross Compliance Inspections

Last year as part of the standardisation process HMRC introduced cross compliance checks enabling them to obtain information regarding various different taxes all at the same time. This meant that HMRC now have one set of powers giving them the ability to inspect records and consider the affect any information obtained has on various taxes such as Corporation Tax, VAT and PAYE, so if an error is found affecting one tax it could now have consequences across other taxes too.

From 1st April 2010 the list of taxes which can be inspected at the same time has been extended to cover almost all taxes imaginable. The major taxes of Income Tax, Corporation Tax, Capital Gains Tax, PAYE, VAT and CIS where all covered last year but this year majority of the remaining taxes have been added to the list, it now also includes Inheritance Tax, Stamp Duty Land Tax, and many more.

Time frames aligned

The standardisation process also covered the alignment of the amount of time a taxpayer has to make a claim and the amount of time HMRC have to make an assessment.  It now means that for Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Corporation Tax where the time limit for how far HMRC could previously go back was six years this has reduced to four years. However for VAT time limits have increased from three to four years.

 The changes to time limits largely took effect from 1 April 2010 so it could be well worth considering if a previously out of time claim could now be made or if a deadline is now nearing. Anyone needing to make an Income Tax repayment claim for earlier years should check the new deadlines to ensure they do not miss out.

Consistent and fair?

The new process is supposed to make the tax system more consistent and clearer for everyone to administer, but that remains to be seen.


Disclaimer: This article is for general guidance only.  All taxation planning should only be undertaken after appropriate professional advice.  George Hay Chartered Accountants are registered to carry on audit work and regulated for a range of investment business activities by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

The information provided in this blog illustrates my opinions and experiences, it does not constitute advice and I do not accept responsibility for any actions taken or refrained from as a result of reading this post.

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