It’s easy to assume that HMRC know everything, but much of the UK tax system relies on taxpayers, employers, and sales platforms providing the right information. Realising you might have made a mistake after submitting everything can be a scary feeling, but HMRC actively encourage taxpayers to come forward if they find themselves in that situation.
Tax returns can be very confusing documents, so it’s perfectly understandable that you might make a mistake. Even a typing error in your bookkeeping records can cause you to report your profit figures incorrectly, and therefore to pay the wrong amount of tax. Making a voluntary disclosure to HMRC can help you amend the error.
When should I make a voluntary disclosure?
You should tell HMRC as soon as you realise that a mistake has been made, even if you don’t think you will need to pay more tax. If you’re not sure, try to speak to your accountant as soon as possible so that they’re aware, and can advise you on what to do next.
How do I make a voluntary disclosure?
There are several options available for making a voluntary disclosure. HMRC accepts disclosures online through its Digital Disclosure Service. This is a convenient way of informing HMRC of a mistake so they can process and assess it.
HMRC will normally send out an acknowledgement letter containing your unique Disclosure Reference Number (DRN) within two weeks of receiving your disclosure. They’ll contact you with any follow-up questions or to request further evidence where necessary before deciding whether or not to accept the disclosure that you made.
If accepted, you’ll be contacted again with a Payment Reference Number (PRN) so that you can pay any additional tax that you owe by the deadline shown on the letter.
What information will I need?
If HMRC asks for additional information, you may need to provide annual accounts, bank statements and bookkeeping records. It’s best to be as transparent and cooperative as possible so that the process is as disruption-free to your business as it can be.
Penalties for mistakes
You may be hit with a penalty if the mistake or omission was due to careless or deliberate behaviour. The consequences of not reporting a mistake on your tax return could be even greater. That’s why it’s always best to make a voluntary disclosure as soon as you realise that there is a problem! While making a voluntary disclosure may be an uncomfortable process, it’s much better to get it done and out of the way.
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About The Author
I've worked in the accountancy sector for more than 15 years, and have extensive experience supporting sole traders, partnerships, and SME's. Learn more about Lisa.