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Officials at HM Revenue & Customs has agreed to a suspension of the Business Records Checks scheme. The pilot scheme was launched in April 2011, carrying out 2,437 checks on records up to 4th January 2012. Following a review with representative bodies and businesses, along with much controversy, the pilot scheme has been suspended until a report is finalised in 2012 and early 2013.

According to an internal review, the business checks were not accurately targeted, didn’t collect as much revenue as anticipated for the Treasury and harmed relations between HMRC and business representative groups. A fresh approach will be discussed after a final review in 2012, possibly being launched early in 2013. HMRC had previously faced controversy after it was accused of clamping down on small businesses and ignoring tax owed by larger corporations.

In view of the suspension, HMRC won’t carry out any further Business Records Checks until the revised scheme is announced. However, HMRC will carry out appointments that have already been arranged and will conduct follow up visits for those businesses that displayed significant problems with record keeping. More than a quarter of the visits carried out under the pilot scheme revealed issues with record keeping, while a further 11 percent had uncovered serious issues that would warrant further visits from HMRC inspectors.

The Director of Local Compliance for HMRC, Richard Summersgill said:

“The BRC visits provide benefits for the business and HMRC. We want businesses to pay the right amount of tax at the right time, avoiding potential interest and penalties. The checks also give greater assurance to HMRC when the business submits its tax returns.”

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