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The deadline for individuals and businesses who have notified HM Revenue & Customs that they want to participate in the VAT initiative campaign is fast approaching. If a business or individual has notified of their intention to file a return, they must complete and return the VAT application form by 31st December 2011, to avoid large penalties.

HMRC launched the VAT initiative on 5th July 2011, writing to more than 40,000 businesses to make them aware of the scheme. Any business or individual with a turnover of more than £73,000, which is the current limit, was invited to notify HMRC of their intention to submit a VAT registration form. The deadline for submitting the registration form is 31st December 2011.

More than 800 businesses have notified HMRC, which will result in them receiving much lower penalties. HMRC are urging businesses who are operating above the VAT threshold to come forward and make a declaration of income, and register for VAT. Once the VAT return has been submitted, a reduced penalty will be applied to monies outstanding.

Businesses which avoid declaration and payment of tax will face investigation and huge penalties. Marian Wilson, the Head of Campaigns for HMRC said:

“We are determined to ensure everyone pays their fair share and, since September, have begun identifying people and companies who we believe are trading above the VAT threshold but have not come forward.”

Taking part in the VAT initiative and returning the registration form before the deadline will result in a lower charge than facing an investigation which is a lengthy procedure, and costly.

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