HMRC gives VAT rule breakers registration deadline

VAT rule breakers have been given until 30 September to register to pay VAT.

The HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) campaign - VAT Initiative - focuses on individuals and businesses that are trading above the VAT registration threshold of £73,000, but who have not registered to pay VAT.

Sectors that are being targeted include construction, business services, hair and beauty, hotels and catering, retail distribution, recreational services, motor vehicle distribution and repair, sanitary and domestic services, agriculture and horticulture, property and road haulage.

Most of those who have not yet registered but do come forward any time between now and 30 September will face a lowered penalty rate of 10 per cent on VAT that has been paid late if they make a full disclosure.

After that date, HMRC claims it will use data to investigate those that have failed to come forward, and that substantial penalties and potential criminal prosecution could follow.

Commenting, Mike Wells, director of risk and intelligence at HMRC said: "Most people do register for, and pay, the correct amount of VAT. This isn't about honest taxpayers, who have nothing to fear from any of our campaigns."

HMRC has issued the following guidance for those wishing to use VAT Initiative:

  • Register with HMRC by 30 September to "notify" that they plan to make a voluntary VAT disclosure; and
  • Tell HMRC about VAT due and make arrangements to pay it, as well as any penalties due, by 31 December.