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Revenue relaunches Business Records Checks

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has relaunched its Business Records Checks (BRC) programme, with the promise that it will adopt a more business-friendly approach.

In April 2011, HMRC began its pilot programme of checking the adequacy of the statutory business records of small and medium-sized firms. However, the programme was suspended in February 2012 following widespread criticism from industry groups.

The programme has now been redesigned, with a greater emphasis being placed on education and support, according to HMRC.

Under the new ‘step-by-step’ approach, HMRC will initially send letters to businesses that it believes may to be at high risk of keeping inadequate records, and will follow these up with a telephone call, during which customers will be asked a series of questions regarding their record keeping.

Where it is deemed necessary, HMRC will then either refer the firm to its Business Education and Support Team, or arrange a face-to-face BRC visit.

Under the scheme, the standard penalty for a first offence is £500, or £250 for a business in the first year of trading. The maximum fine of £3,000 will only apply where records have been destroyed.

A spokesperson for HMRC commented, ‘Penalties will only be charged where customers are found to have deliberately destroyed records on the first visit, or where they have failed to improve their record keeping to an adequate standard’.

We can help with all of your record-keeping requirements. Please contact us for further information.