Overview of business records checks

By Tolley in association with Guy Smith of inTAX Ltd
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The following Owner-Managed Businesses guidance note by Tolley in association with Guy Smith of inTAX Ltd provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Overview of business records checks
  • What did HMRC do?
  • What did the BRC visits involve?
  • Penalties

The business record checks programme was one of the more controversial initiatives launched by HMRC in recent years and has had a chequered history. Originally introduced in 2011, it was were suspended in February 2012, restructured and relaunched in November 2012 and wound down in October 2015.

HMRC wanted to test both the adequacy and accuracy of business records maintained by sole traders, partnerships and limited companies trading within the small and enterprise (SME) sector. HMRC considers SMEs to be those businesses with an annual turnover below £30 million who employ fewer than 250 people.

Falling back on its own internal research from random self assessment enquiries and studies conducted by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), HMRC justified the need for the programme by saying poor business record keeping was responsible for a loss of tax in up to two million SME cases annually.

HMRC’s key objectives listed in the consultation document were to:

  • use the tax legislation at FA 2008, Sch 36 to check up to 50,000 businesses’ records annually