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VAT rule-breakers given final chance to come forward

HMRC has launched a new campaign to tackle businesses trading above the VAT threshold who have not registered for VAT.

Individuals and businesses have until 30 September to tell HMRC that they want to take part in the campaign. Those that make a full disclosure may face a reduced penalty rate of 10% on VAT that has been paid late.

More than 40,000 letters are being sent out over the next few weeks to inform businesses how to register to pay what they owe.

Businesses must register for VAT if their taxable turnover for the previous 12 months is more than £73,000 or they believe it will exceed this threshold in the next 30 days.

Commenting, Mike Wells, HMRC's director of risk and intelligence, said: ‘The aim is to make it easy for individuals and businesses to contact us, make a full disclosure of their income and face a reduced penalty on any tax owed.

‘I urge people who have not registered their businesses for VAT to get in touch with HMRC and get their tax affairs in order simply and on the best available terms.’

The clampdown is the latest in a series of HMRC campaigns to recoup unpaid tax.

Last month the Revenue published details of a campaign to target traders who use e-marketplace sites to buy and sell goods as a trade or business.

It also intends to scrutinise the tax affairs of private tutors and coaches who are able to earn either a main or secondary income from their expertise.