1st December 2011
HMRC has issued a final call for those taking part in the VAT Initiative to register for VAT by 31 December.
The VAT Initiative was launched in July this year, and offered businesses with a turnover of more than £73,000, who have failed to comply with VAT rules a special plan to put their tax affairs right.
The opportunity to participate in the plan ended on 30 September, and those who registered their intention to take part must register for VAT by 31 December in order to face a lower penalty of rate of 10 per cent on the VAT that has been paid late.
The plan targeted trades including construction, business services, hair and beauty, hotels and catering, agriculture and horticulture and property and road haulage.
Since the plan closed, HMRC has been identifying those who did not come forward, and has warned of higher penalties and even criminal prosecution.
Commenting, Marian Wilson, HMRC's Head of Campaigns, said:
"Those who have told us of their intention to disclose now have until the end of December to register for VAT. They must then submit their first VAT return and make arrangements to pay.
"We are determined to ensure everyone pays their fair share and, since September, have begun identifying people and companies who we believe are trading above the VAT threshold but have not come forward. We will be targeting these groups early in the New Year.
"I urge anyone with unpaid tax to use it to come forward and avoid potentially lengthy and costly investigations. The penalty they will pay will still be lower than when HMRC catches up with them."