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HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) develops a new approach to Business Records Checks

November 12, 2013

HMRC Business Records Checks (BRCs) programme uses on-site visits to encourage customers to keep better records, and keep them up to date. The checks help and encourage small and medium sized enterprises to improve the standard of records they keep. This then helps them to send correct returns to HMRC.

Customers whose records were not adequate on first inspection, and who received follow up visits, all improved their record-keeping standard. HMRC have not had to charge any penalties. In the latest phase of BRC, many of the customers contacted by HMRC have been keeping records correctly. So HMRC wants to explore how to better target this activity.

From 4 November 2013, HMRC’s BRC activity in the Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, Bradford and Stockport areas will explore new ways of using the checks. As part of this, HMRC will evaluate new risk processes and ensure new approaches are cost effective and fit with its wider compliance activity. HMRC will also work with tax agents’ representatives to review the benchmarks of what good record-keeping should be. Many tax agents already do much to improve their clients’ record-keeping and HMRC wants to work with them to improve standards.

For customers outside the development areas HMRC will continue with existing BRCs until they are completed. This means:

  • if you have received a letter dated on or before 23 October 2013, HMRC will still contact you by telephone to ask you to complete an initial telephone questionnaire
  • if HMRC has not yet booked a visit with you, they will offer you the opportunity to get advice on keeping business records from ‘Help and support for businesses’ (see link below) where you can access further guidance on record keeping
  • if HMRC has already booked a visit, they will offer you the option of advice on keeping business records from the ‘Help and support for businesses’ options (see link below)
  • if you are waiting for a follow-up visit, this will still go ahead
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