Ipswich: Taxman extends record-keeping checks

SPOT checks on companies’ record keeping are to be rolled out by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) in eight more areas, including Ipswich.

HMRC initially launched its Business Records Checks programme in eight towns and cities around the UK earlier this year.

Out of 800 companies visited so far, around one in eight (12%) have been found to have “seriously inadequate” records and nearly half (44%) have had problems of some kind with their record-keeping.

Now, HMRC is increasing the number of full-time staff employed on the programme from 30 to 120, with Ipswich among the next areas to be targeted ahead of a planned national roll-out next year.

HMRC plans to issue penalties of up to �3,000, although it says these will only be imposed in the most extreme cases of poor record-keeping and an announcement has yet to be made on when they will start.

Richard Summersgill, HMRC’s director of local compliance, said: “Good record-keeping helps businesses pay the right amount of tax at the right time, thereby potentially avoiding interest and penalties.

“Adequate records give businesses a clear idea of their trading position and profitability, allowing them to make business decisions and adjustments to ensure survival and success. And where a check has shown a business keeps adequate records, it gives HMRC a greater degree of assurance as to the likely accuracy of its tax returns.

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“Ultimately, this is about supporting businesses and reducing the tax gap,” he added.

Nationally, HMRC plans to complete up to 12,000 Business Records Checks by the end of the current financial year, with 20,000 provisionally planned for 2012/13.