New HMRC approach to business records check (BRCs)

News: December 2013

New HMRC approach to business records check (BRCs)

The BRC programme involves on-site visits to encourage taxpayers to keep better records, and to keep up to date. The checks help and encourage SMEs, say HMRC, to improve the standard of records they keep and consequently help them to send correct returns to HMRC.

A new approach in specified geographical areas reflects the fact that taxpayers 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 – that’s an encouraging admission on its own!

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.

Originally the BRC initiative was expected to raise £600million in extra tax. That was dramatically downgraded to £62million in February 2012. The new approach emphasises the educational aspect and reflects the fact that HMRC found that most businesses do keep adequate records. Whether they expect to collect extra tax now from BRCs has to be open to doubt!