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HMRC will this month target around 50,000 businesses that have failed to pay their VAT on time, warning that their tax affairs will be subject to scrutiny.

More than 600,000 businesses must file their VAT returns monthly, but some 50,000 are to be told that, from 28 February, their tax affairs will be exposed to greater inspection should they still have VAT outstanding. Some will have received an assessment of VAT for the periods in question.

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 are yet to do so. By using the amnesty and coming forward voluntarily, businesses may receive better terms, with any penalties imposed potentially lower than if HMRC contacts them first.

TCS believe the approach marks a change in the way the taxman deals with non-compliant businesses.

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