HMRC targets tax-evading landlords and rag traders

The rag trade, the alcohol industry and the rental property market are the latest targets of HMRC’s crackdown on tax cheats in businesses across the UK.

Taskforces have been launched and will be carrying out spot checks and analysing the records of rag traders in the Midlands, North Wales and the North West as well as those involved in the production, distribution and selling of alcohol in Scotland.

Several MPs who are facing fresh public scrutiny over profits made from renting out tax-payer financed accommodation could come under the spotlight as the taxman as landlords of property in the South East will also be targeted.

HMRC expects to recoup an estimated £17m in unpaid tax from the three taskforces and Jennie Granger, director general enforcement and compliance at HMRC, said:

‘HMRC is seriousabout tackling people who are not paying what they should. Anyone deliberately evading tax should watch out – HMRC is closing in on tax cheats.’

According to David Gauke, the Exchequer secretary, HMRC is ‘on target’ to collect more than £50m from taskforces since their launch last year. He said:

‘The vast majority of people play by the rules. We will not tolerate tax evasion and will crack down on the minority who choose to break the rules.’

Machine Games Duty – Does it Apply to You?

From the 1st February 2013 income from certain gaming machines will become subject to new form of duty known as Machine Games Duty (“MGD”), which replaces Amusement Machine Licence Duty and VAT.

Machines that will be subject to the change are those where at least one of the available prizes is or includes cash which is more than the cost to play the machine. MGD is payable at (normally) 20% on the money from such machines and the takings will become exempt from VAT.

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Exit Planning

There is a stage in the development of any business where some or all of the shareholders will want to crystallise some or all of the value they have created. To maximise your exit multiple and hence business valuation, the process of exit planning (often referred to as grooming your business for sale) needs to be implemented carefully.

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Companies House – Filing Fee Changes

From the 1st October 2012 the charges for filing various forms at Companies House changed.

For example the Annual Return fee dropped from £14 to £13

For details of all other changes please see

Audit Exemption Changes

The Government has announced changes to reporting and auditing requirements that will allow more small companies and subsidiaries to decide whether or not to have an audit. Current UK rules state SMEs must both have a maximum balance sheet total of £3.26m and less than £6.5m turnover to qualify for an exemption. The new regulations mean SMEs will be able to obtain an exemption if they meet two out of three criteria relating to balance sheet total, turnover and employing no more than 50 staff.

The Government will also exempt most subsidiary companies from mandatory audit, as long as their parent company guarantees their liabilities. These regulations are expected to come into force for accounting years ending on or after 1 October 2012.


New way to register for VAT

H M Revenue & Customs has introduced a new way to register businesses for VAT.

It has also introduced a new variations service which mean more tasks can be performed online.

They include being able to register for VAT, attach documents, such as the VAT 50 and VAT 51 forms or submitting notification of an option to tax (form VAT 1614A). Other elements include making changes to the principal place of business and contact details.

More details are available from