Filing VAT and company tax returns: HM Revenue & Customs

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The Stationery Office, Dec 13, 2006 - Business & Economics - 39 pages
Value Added Tax (VAT) and Corporation Tax raised around 120 billion in revenue in 2005-06. Some 1.8 million businesses are registered for VAT and 1.8 million companies registered to file Company Tax returns, which cover their liability for Corporation Tax. This report examines the performance of HM Revenue & Customs in securing and processing VAT and Company Tax returns from businesses which should submit them. It covers: getting the returns in on time; efficiency in dealing with the returns; customer service and the compliance burden on businesses making returns. Over the last three years the number of Company Tax returns filed on time has remained broadly stable at 77 to 79 per cent and VAT return compliance rate has stabilised at 85 per cent. The Department does not have readily available information on the total number of Company Tax returns outstanding from all previous years. It also does not know the potential tax liability arising from all missing returns. At least 1.5 billion of tax is in doubt from late and non-filed VAT and Company Tax returns. The level and the way in which penalties are applied for late filing for the two tax returns has not proved effective in further improving compliance. The report finds online filing of returns could improve efficiency, and welcomes reduction in staff costs and improvements in customer service. The NAO make a number of recommendations, which may be implemented quickly and at low cost, aimed at yielding efficiency savings, reduce tax at risk, and improve the Department's progress towards its targets.

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