Member Article

SMEs beware new tax submission changes

Small businesses should be aware of the new rules around compulsory online tax submissions, or face a barrage of fines from HM Revenue & Customs (HRMC).

As the start of the 2012/13 financial year in April, HRMC plan to introduce new rules which will mean that VAT-registered businesses must submit its tax returns through the organisation’s website, rather than in a paper based form.

This new legislation could now hit many small businesses in the region if they fail to comply with the new rules.

Despite a long running consultancy across the accounting profession about the detail and timing of the changes, Emma Hartshorne-Ferguson partner at Bell Tindle Williamson believes that they haven’t fully got the message across to the business community.

She says: “HMRC has tried hard to communicate with companies about the forthcoming changes around tax return submission rules, but I very much doubt anywhere near as many firms as they’d have hoped or expected are fully aware of what’s coming.

“Computers have obviously become part of everyday operations for a high proportion of north east companies, but it’s also true to say that they have very little impact on many thousands of other small businesses, where the cash till is often the most complex piece of technology they use.

She also believes that failiure to comply could just be the beginning of SME’s tax-related problems, and is urging owner-mangers to be prepared for their new responsibilities.

Emma added: “At a time when many firms are struggling to simply stay in business, the last thing that managers need is a new set of regulations that are likely to take considerable amounts of time to manage and could cost them hundreds of pounds if they don’t succeed in doing so.

“Whilst the taxman has said that a little latitude will be given whilst everyone gets used to the new way of working, we’re not expecting this to turn out in practice to be very much, and strongly recommend that companies should do everything they can now to prepare for meeting their extended tax responsibilities.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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