HMRC issued a consultation paper in December 2010 on how best to implement a programme of Business Records Checks (BRC). At the time they estimated that 40% of all small and medium sized businesses, that’s roughly 2 million SME’s, suffered from poor record keeping where unpaid tax was likely to be due. They estimated that by carrying out a check on 200,000 businesses over the next 4 years, extra revenue of £ 600,000 million would be generated from those that didn’t comply. This would equate to an average cost, in terms of penalty and tax, of about £5000 for each business that failed the check. That is an expensive failure.
The period for consultation ended on 28th February 2011 and the results of the consultation were due to be published by HMRC around the end of March 2011. A review has been published (http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/businessrecordscheck/review.pdf), stating that HMRC expect to raise £49 million from the initiative in 2013/2014.
What is clear, is that HMRC believe that BRC will continue prove to be an efficient way of generating extra revenue and that it will be implemented. Will cash businesses be targeted for BRC? We don’t know for sure but it is interesting that HMRC gives examples of the records to be maintained by 3 different types of business and, yes you guessed it, one of them is a “retail shop”.
From speaking with strategic partners and potential customers, it is clear that many retailers still are not ready for such assessments. We are working on an article to help retailers to avoid penalties and how to better manage their business.