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A sizeable bill from the VAT Office

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The VAT People - Expert Author

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28th May 2013

We know clients often get unreasonable demands from HMRC, but one woman’s recent case has highlighted how little scrutiny HMRC give to the demands they send out.

Florence Coke, who runs a cafe in Gorton, Manchester was shocked to discover that the VAT Office in Southend-on-Sea had sent out a demand for nearly £1 billion. As usual, the demand pointed out HMRCs rights in turning up at the business premises and seizing her business assets if she did not settle the £979,092,858 liability.

Such a case obviously raises questions about how much scrutiny letters leaving HMRC offices are put under, as it is clear that a single cafe in Manchester could not run up such a bill. Therefore, it is worth reminding your clients that they should not blindly follow any demand that HMRC sends out, and that most demands have an element of guesswork to them. In fact, evidence last year showed over a third of demands were overturned upon internal review!

If you or your clients receive a demand from HMRC, call us to discuss ways to lower the demand value, or even have it quashed completely.


About the Author

The VAT People are leading VAT and Customs Duty consultants based in the North West of England. We work with a wide range of businesses throughout the UK as well as assisting our accountancy colleagues to unravel the thorny VAT issues for their clients. We are one of the UK's largest and most comprehensive sources of VAT and Customs advice, our consultancy team having over 140 years of experience in VAT and Customs gained in either HMRC or a Big 4 accountancy practice environment.

Call us on our VAT helpline 0800 077 4604 to discuss. All initial discussions are free with no-obligation.



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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2013-06-06 13:51:07 in Tax Articles

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