Newsletter – October 2011

In this month’s enews we report on HMRC’s latest disclosure opportunity. Please contact us if you would like any further details on any of the issues covered.



HMRC launch the Tax Catch Up Plan

HMRC have launched a campaign to target private tutors and coaches who have undeclared tax liabilities.

The Tax Catch Up Plan (TCUP) is aimed at individuals who provide private lessons, or who profit from tuition and coaching, as a main or secondary income where the correct tax has not been paid. The types of tuition, instruction or coaching covered by the TCUP include tuition of traditional academic subjects, fitness and dance instruction, musical instrument tuition, art, services provided by life coaches and others.

Under the TCUP, tutors and coaches have until 31 March 2012 to advise HMRC about their outstanding tax for the years up to 5 April 2010, and pay what they owe. HMRC have confirmed that those who come forward by the deadline are likely to receive the best possible terms for paying the tax owed. If they have to pay a penalty, it is unlikely to be more than 20%.

Those who wait for HMRC to come to them will find that they have to pay much higher penalties (as much as 100% and may even face criminal prosecution). After 31 March 2012, using information pulled together from different sources, HMRC will investigate those who have chosen not to come forward.

Marian Wilson, Head of HMRC Campaigns, said:

‘Our campaigns are designed to ensure tax is paid so that the money is available to spend on public services used by everyone. We are making it as easy as possible for people offering tuition and coaching to use this unique opportunity to put their tax affairs in order by making a full disclosure, and benefit from the best possible terms.

We are using various intelligence sources to identify and then target those who do not take advantage of this opportunity to declare their full income. The message is clear: contact us before we contact you.’

The Tax Catch Up Plan has two stages:

  • From 10 October 2011 to 6 January 2012, tutors/coaches/instructors must register with HMRC to ‘notify’ that they plan to make a voluntary tax disclosure.
  • By 31 March 2012 those who have registered to notify must tell HMRC what they owe and pay the tax, interest and penalties due.

People can register online by completing a notification form which can be accessed using the link below or by calling HMRC on 0845 601 8817.

Please do get in touch if you have any concerns in this area.

Internet links: Press release TCUP guidance

Plan to boost the economy

The Institute of Directors (IoD) has proposed a new economic growth plan which aims to improve business investment and development. ‘The Route Back to Growth’ contains several recommendations including:

1. Monetary policy – Quantitative easing; launch QE2 in October with an initial £50 billion
2. Fiscal rules – A new 35% of GDP public spending target by 2020
3. Taxation – Remove the 50% top rate of income tax
4. Taxation – Extended corporation tax cuts to 15% by 2020
5. EU policy – Use future Treaty and/or budget negotiations to repatriate key employment powers
6. Infrastructure – Ring-fence transport, energy and ITC infrastructure spending
7. Energy policy – Do no harm – don’t sacrifice UK competitiveness for green credentials
8. Education – Further expand free school provision with profit incentives
9. Taxation – End the £100,000 personal allowance anomaly
10. Competition policy – Intensify competition policy both domestically and within the EU
11. Regulation policy – Radical civil service reforms to promote de-regulation
12. Employment Law – Nine major changes to free up the labour market
13. Planning – Incremental ‘Green Belt’ and developer rights to propose, and reduce political influence over infrastructure planning
14. Public sector performances – Greater decentralisation of public sector pay
15. Public sector performances – No watering down of reforms to unfunded public sector pensions

The IoD claims that if its suggestions are adopted by the government, it could make the UK one of the most advanced economies in the world.

Internet link: IoD plan

HMRC extend Business Records Checks

HMRC have announced that they are extending their Business Records Checks programme.

These checks were piloted earlier this year and involved checks on the adequacy of Small and Medium Sized Entities’ business records. The pilots apparently found that around 44% of businesses visited had issues with their record-keeping, while around 12% of those visited had seriously inadequate records.

HMRC are now extending this activity from mid-September to cover a number of key areas across the UK. As part of this, the number of full-time staff employed on the programme will rise from 30 to 120.

HMRC are planning to complete up to 12,000 checks by the end of the current financial year, with 20,000 provisionally planned for 2012/13. HMRC are increasing the number of visits so it can refine the process, before final decisions on a national roll-out are taken in the New Year. If you have any concerns in this area please contact us.

Internet link: Press release

Make sure your employee information is correct

HMRC are reminding employers of the importance of correct employee information and have updated the questions on the introduction of Real Time Information (RTI). They have issued a number of questions and answers stressing the importance of correct details in the run up to the introduction of RTI in 2012/13.

According to the advice which has been issued:

‘It has always been important to make sure the information that you send HMRC about your employees is accurate to help ensure that your employees pay the correct Income Tax and NICs. Improving the accuracy of the information you hold and send to HMRC will help match the information to the correct HMRC record. This could save you money by helping to reduce the number of employee enquiries you receive.

This is not just important for tax and NICs. From October 2013, RTI will support Universal Credit by providing the Department for Work and Pensions with up to date information about claimants’ employment income. Ensuring your employee information is correct will help to ensure they receive the right amount of Credit.

As part of the process for an employer joining RTI, HMRC will align the records of employees held on the NPS system and the records held by employers. HMRC will publish more information about the ’employer alignment’ process soon.

In the meantime HMRC recommends that you start to prepare for RTI by checking the information you hold.’

Over 80% of matching problems experienced by HMRC are caused by incorrect information about an individual’s name, date of birth or National Insurance number.

Please use the following link to read the guidance on the correct format for information.

Internet link: HMRC RTI FAQs

National Insurance Numbers – by letter

HMRC have for many years notified individuals of their National Insurance number (NI No) for the first time by sending them a plastic NI No card.

Last year, as part of the Government’s Spending Challenge, it was announced that HMRC would stop issuing NI No cards and send letters instead. The government estimate this will save approximately £1 million per annum.

Late last year HMRC introduced a system of notification by letter for those requesting a reminder of their NI No, and in July this year adults requesting a number for the first time will be issued with one by letter by Jobcentre Plus.

HMRC have confirmed that they will stop sending NI No cards altogether. Anyone needing a number (adults and juveniles approaching age 16) will now receive their NI No on a notification letter.

HMRC are advising employers that new employees may now have a letter or a card with their NI No information and that either is acceptable.

Internet link: HMRC NI news

HMRC issue updated guidance for employees on childcare

HMRC have updated their guidance on employers helping with childcare costs.

Leaflet IR155 which sets out the circumstances and the amounts of tax and National Insurance (NI) free childcare costs that an employer may provide has been updated.

The update reflects the change to the rules which mean that where a new claimant enters into a scheme from 6 April 2011 the amount of exempt childcare is restricted

  • for higher rate taxpayers to £28 a week, and
  • for additional rate taxpayers to £22 a week.

The amount available to basic rate tax payers and those in relevant schemes prior to 6 April 2011 remains at £55 a week.

If you would like any further information on tax and NI efficient childcare please do get in touch.

Internet link: IR155 leaflet

Importing and Exporting Guide

HMRC have issued a ‘Guide to Importing & Exporting – Breaking down the Barriers’. According to the introduction to the lengthy document:

‘This information pack is for anybody, whether already in business or not, who wishes to bring goods into the United Kingdom (UK) from outside the European Union (EU), or intends to send goods from the UK out of the EU.

The pack has been designed to help you get started on importing and / or exporting, and to help you better understand the procedures involved in these activities.’

If you have any queries or would like advice in this area please do get in touch.

Internet link: HMRC guidance

HMRC Business Records Checks

HMRC extends Business Records Checks

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has announced an extension of its Business Records Checks programme.

Business Records Checks were piloted earlier this year in eight key areas, and involve checks on the adequacy of small and medium-sized enterprises’ business records.
The pilots found that around 44 per cent of businesses visited had issues with their record-keeping, while around 12 per cent of those visited had seriously inadequate records.

HMRC will be now be extending this activity from mid-September to cover a number of key areas across the UK. As part of this, the number of full-time staff employed on the programme will rise from 30 to 120.

HMRC plans to complete up to 12,000 Business Records Checks by the end of the current financial year, with 20,000 provisionally planned for 2012/13. HMRC is increasing the number of visits, so it can refine the process, before final decisions on a national roll-out are taken in the New Year.

Initially, HMRC will only levy a record-keeping penalty in the most extreme cases of poor record-keeping. In the longer-term, HMRC intends to issue penalties of up to £3,000 for serious inadequacies in record-keeping. HMRC will issue guidance on this, and make a further announcement on when it will happen, in due course.

HMRC’s Director of Local Compliance, Richard Summersgill, said:

“Good record-keeping helps businesses pay the right amount of tax at the right time, thereby potentially avoiding interest and penalties.

“Adequate records give businesses a clear idea of their trading position and profitability, allowing them to make business decisions and adjustments to ensure survival and success. And where a check has shown a business keeps adequate records, it gives HMRC a greater degree of assurance as to the likely accuracy of its tax returns.

“Ultimately, this is about supporting businesses and reducing the tax gap.”
For further information on record-keeping, visit


Notes for editors
1. The Business Records Checks pilots involved around 800 visits, focusing on eight different sites (Edinburgh, Irvine, Sunderland, Liverpool, Manchester, Stockport, Sheffield and Portsmouth). The extended programme of visits will cover key areas in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

2. Research by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) indicates that poor business record-keeping generally leads to an underassessment of tax, even where there is an audit-type check into a return for the period covered by such records. On this basis, poor business record-keeping is responsible for a loss of tax in up to two million SME cases annually.

3. A guide to setting up a basic record-keeping system is available from the Business Link website at
Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office