A window of opportunity for anyone outside of VAT regime, that should be registered and inside, closes soon.
As reported by BusinessMan on 16 June, HMRC has been running a campaign that aims to capture those who should be registered for VAT but who have decided to ignore the tax, presumably because it keeps them less expensive than their rivals or allows them to charge VAT on services without paying the monies over to HMRC.
Either way, HMRC had written to some 40,000 businesses suspected of not playing fair and offered them an 'amnesty' if they disclosed a liability by the end of September, registered for VAT and then paid the missing monies over by the end of 2011. The deal wasn't too bad - the missing VAT and only a 10 per cent penalty.
The writing to the 40,000 shouldn't go unnoticed in that it means that HMRC already have a good idea of whom to chase should they not own up. Those who are caught after the amnesty ends after 30 September can expect to be asked for the missing VAT, a 100 per cent penalty, interest and they also risk prosecution. An investigation isn't much fun - apparently.
This was first published in September 2011