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HMRC business records checks ‘at highest level’

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HMRC’s business record checks programme is running at its highest level since it began in 2011, with the number of checks increasing by 60% from 3,431 in 2011/12 to 5,515 in 2013/14, according to figures obtained by tax investigation insurance company PFP.  

The business record checks programme was initiated to identify businesses with poorly kept records, which potentially led to the underpayment of tax. In February 2012, the programme was put on hold and under review following criticism from accountancy firms and business groups, but after a seven-month break, the checks began again in November 2012.

According to PFP, the proportion of checks that found nothing significantly wrong with businesses’ records has actually increased compared to before the review, from 64% in 2011/12 to 73% in 2013/14. The company also says that while HMRC has scrapped its more ambitious plans to visit 50,000 businesses a year, the number of actual onsite inspections taking place is still increasing.

Kevin Igoe, managing director of PFP, comments: ‘After the review, HMRC said it would try to reduce the burden on compliant businesses by using a more targeted approach. However, the majority of those being reviewed are finding that their business records are sufficient.’