HMRC have announced that they are extending their Business Records Checks programme. These checks were piloted earlier this year and involved checks on the adequacy of SMEs' business records.
The pilots apparently found that around 44% of businesses visited had issues with their record-keeping, while around 12% of those visited had seriously inadequate records. Quite how Inspectors can advise businesses on how to keep records is a moot point!
HMRC are now extending this activity from mid-September to cover a number of key areas across the UK. As part of this, the number of full-time staff employed on the programme will rise from 30 to 120.
HMRC are planning to complete up to 12,000 checks by the end of the current financial year, with 20,000 provisionally planned for 2012/13. The poor old 30/120 Inspectors will be shattered!
HMRC are increasing the number of visits, so it can refine the process, before final decisions on a national roll-out are taken in the New Year.
I have seen a number of cases recently where HMRC have insisted on entering business premises when, in fact, they have no such right, so feel free to tell them to take a running jump. Knowing your rights is crucial, as HMRC's purpose is clear: 'Ultimately, this is about supporting businesses and reducing the tax gap.'
To read the full release click here.