Another HMRC disclosure opportunity

Another HMRC disclosure opportunity

Tue 14 Oct 2014

On 9 October HMRC announced yet another disclosure opportunity.  This one is open to businesses that accept payment via credit or debit card.  The name HMRC have given is “Credit Card Sales Campaign” (link to HMRC announcement of the opportunity).

FA 2013 s228 inserted paragraph 13A into FA 2011 sch 23 and gave HMRC additional data gathering powers.  New para 13A allowed HMRC to issue a formal notice requiring merchant acquirers (ie companies that process card payments) to provide HMRC with bulk data about businesses using their services.  In the explanatory notes to FB 2013 HMRC stated they would match the data with accounts of businesses to identify those that might not have disclosed their full sales or are not registered with HMRC.  HMRC obtained powers under new para 13A on enactment in July 2013.  However the power “applies in relation to relevant data with a bearing on any period whether before, on or after the day FA 2013 was enacted.”  HMRC will have obtained a large quantity of historic information by use of para 13A.

HMRC state they have information on “all” businesses.  Presumably they have made this somewhat surprising assertion to encouraging any businesses that may have suppressed takings to come forward and make a voluntary disclosure.

The disclosure opportunity does not set a deadline for response, but has the threat that if a business fails to make a disclosure and HMRC opens an enquiry “you could face higher penalties or criminal prosecution.”

The announcement of the opportunity states that past tax has to be settled within 4 months.

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