Keep yourself right with your VAT returns

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As MANY as 50,000 businesses that have failed to submit VAT returns will be targeted by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) this month with warnings that their tax affairs will be closely scrutinised.

More than 600,000 businesses have to put in VAT returns each month and most do so on time. But in a new campaign some 50,000 will be warned that, from February 28, their tax affairs will attract greater attention.

The VAT Outstanding Returns campaign is aimed at businesses that have one or more VAT return outstanding, and have been told to submit their returns but have not done so. Some will have received an assessment of VAT for these periods.

These businesses are being given an opportunity to get up to date and pay the tax they owe by 28 February. After that, HMRC will target them and take a much closer look at their tax affairs. By using this campaign to come forward voluntarily, they might receive better terms, as any penalty they pay may be lower than if HMRC comes to them first.

People can take part in the campaign by completing and paying any outstanding VAT returns immediately and telling HMRC if they have stopped trading or have changed their business details.