SMEs urged to keep tax man informed

Bevan & Buckland logoIt was recently reported in the Financial Times (FT) that H M Revenue & Customs tried to fine a small business £30,000 for not informing them that their partnership was transferred to a limited company, writes Lee Bradley, Tax Manager of Bevan & Buckland.

The FT article reports that it was only after an appeal by the tax advisor to the Forum of Private Businesses, Andrew Needham of VAT Specialists that HMRC agreed to reduce the penalty from £30,000 to £10,000.  Mr Needham expressed concern that the case reflected a change in HMRC’s long standing policy of waiving its ability to impose penalties in such circumstances.

As Lee explains, it is essential with any change of business status, or even a change of address, that HMRC are informed as soon as possible. 

Lee recommends each section within HMRC is informed separately, as he has seen many occasions where HMRC do not share information between the different departments, despite being one organisation.  “It is always worth sending letters to each of the relevant departments dealing with the taxes that apply to your business,” said Lee. “When doing so, always include the relevant reference – inform VAT using your VAT number, Pay As You Earn using your PAYE reference, etc”.

“This may or may not be a hardening of HMRC’s stance”, he continues, “but you have to remember they have the ability to levy these fines, whether or not they’ve chosen to do so in the past”.

With the continued pressure on all Government departments to cut costs and increase revenues, it unfortunately seems likely that we will see more stories like this in the future. 


Bevan & Buckland have both the expertise and experience of dealing with these issues, so if we can help please contact Lee on 01792 410119 or



You can read more about this case in our new September Newsletter – click on the link below Tel: 01792 410117

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Swansea Tel: 01792 410100

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Haverfordwest Tel: 01437 760666

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Pembroke Tel: 01646 682383

Bevan & Buckland Accountants Carmarthen Tel: 01267 233115

Bevan & Buckland Accountants St David’s Tel: 01437 720352

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