SMEs wasting valuable time being kept waiting by HMRC

13 Sep 2016

Small and medium sized (SME) businesses say they are still being kept waiting in queue on the phone when trying to contact HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC). The survey, carried out by Simply Business, shows that 96 per cent of respondents are wasting valuable time waiting to speak to the Revenue, with the National Audit Office June estimates showing that this could be costing small businesses around £97m a year.

This survey comes at a time when the government's Making Tax Digital plans, now in consultation, are already inviting criticism, as Self Assessment taxpayers will be forced to report to HMRC every three months, by having to make four returns a year - a heavy burden on any business, especially if waiting times to speak to HMRC are not reduced.

The proposals could also see an increase in fines for late filing and late payment of their tax returns and bills, meaning more regulations, more compliance requirements, and even more opportunity to slip up in the ever increasingly complex UK tax system, which has seen 635 changes made to tax legislation since 2011. A review of the Office for Budget Responsibility database shows that income tax has seen the largest number of changes (165), followed by corporation tax (122). Legislation surrounding NICs has seen 81 adjustments, while VAT rules saw 24 changes.

What’s more, research by Funding Options, shows that HMRC seized assets from 1,592 companies in 2015/16, up from 649 in 2014/15, as a result of an increase in overdue taxes of £42m from £15m. Through the “taking control of goods” laws, HMRC is allowed to seize assets in lieu of overdue tax bills. The assets are sold at auction, often below the market value, leaving companies still owing money to HMRC.

Our experts at Beavis Morgan are able to take the hassle of dealing with HMRC away from you, so you don’t need to deal directly with them. We are also able to advise on all aspects of tax whether compliance or planning. Please contact Alan Ford for further information and assistance.

If you have any concerns about your personal or financial situation, our experts at our partner business, BM Advisory, are able to assist. We specialize in finding innovative solutions for businesses and individuals in distress. Contact Andy Pear or Mike Solomons of BM Advisory for more information and an initial free consulation.

Further reading:

Small businesses win digital tax exemption from HMRC

HMRC proposes penalty point and late payment system