Posts tagged ‘Hm Revenue And Customs’

If you were among those hit by the new 50p top tax rate back in April, then you could now be more likely to receive a rather unwelcome knock on the door from the taxman.

Proposal

Under plans unveiled by the Liberal Democrats at their recent conference in Liverpool, half of the UK’s 300,000 higher earners affected by the top tax rate face having their tax affairs checked over by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

This means that the number of tax investigations will rise from the current figure of 5,000 to 150,000 a year – an increase of 3,000%.

Why?

The £900 million drive is designed to crack down on tax avoidance, the legal practice of using existing provisions within the current tax regime to minimise your tax liabilities. This should not be confused with tax evasion, where tax liabilities are avoided by illegal means, amounting to tax fraud.

Those who ‘hide’ money in offshore accounts will also come under scrutiny as part of the increased investigations.

As a result of the scheme, the number of criminal prosecutions relating to tax matters is expected to increase five-fold, while the Treasury has announced that it expects the initiative to bring in £7 billion a year by 2015.

While tax avoidance is certainly not illegal, the announcement highlights the importance of seeking professional advice on all tax matters to ensure you do not fall foul of any investigation.

Impact on small business

Even if you have nothing to hide, tax investigations can be both costly and time-consuming, particularly for smaller businesses which have neither the time nor the money to spare.

Need support?

Friendly, approachable, reliable professionals

At George Hay, we can advise clients on all aspects of taxation and can help you ensure that all your tax affairs are in order. We can help you ensure you do not pay too much or too little tax and, should you find yourself the subject of an investigation, can offer as much assistance as you need.

We are also able to offer tax investigation protection. As with any insurance, everyone hopes they will never need to use it, but taking out cover now could save you thousands of pounds in investigation fees should the taxman come calling – money that could be put to better use in your business.

For more information on any area of taxation, including tax investigations, or to find out more about tax investigation protection, please contact us.

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.

How good are your I.T. skills?

If you have not yet completed your Tax Return for the year ended 5 April 2010 they may need to be fairly good as HM Revenue and Customs  are encouraging taxpayers to file online.  If you continue to use paper Returns, the usual 31 January timeline is substantially reduced to 31 October 2010.

Not filed your Tax Return online before?


If you have not filed Tax Returns online in previous years, you will need to register with HM Revenue and Customs beforehand.  As this will take at least a week to process immediate action is required to meet the fast approaching deadline.

You will need to visit the website of HM Revenue and Customs on www.hmrc.gov.uk and select ‘Self assessment’ from ‘Do it online’. This will guide you through the process of creating a user name and password.

You will also need to have some personal details, including your Unique Tax Reference and National Insurance number or Post Code to hand.

Once you have done this you will be sent a personal activation Pin through the post, from the Government Gateway. With this you should be able to complete the registration process and to be able to file the Return online.

Need assistance?

Most people find the filing process relatively straightforward and there is help available on the website itself. There is also an online demonstrator showing how the service works and provides various specific examples. To see this go to www.hmrc.gov.uk/demo

Watch out: Not everyone is able to file online…

It must be pointed out that there are a few people who will not be able to use the online service due to some of the supplementary pages not being available on the internet site and, of course, if you do not have access to the internet you also have the problem of what you should do. The only answer is to contact ourselves as soon as possible and we will do our best to submit your Return in time.

Time

As emphasised above, for everyone who still has a Tax Return outstanding, the problem is time.  Can you do everything in time and stay focused on your business?

Why not contact George Hay Chartered Accountants for peace of mind?


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.