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Issue:- 8 December  2011

April VAT alert for businesses

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has issued an alert to VAT-registered businesses across the UK about important changes that come into effect this spring.  From 1 April 2012, all VAT-registered businesses must send their VAT returns online and pay their VAT electronically. Currently, only newly-registered businesses, and those with turnovers of more than £100,000, have to file and pay their VAT online.  The new rules will cover VAT returns filed for accounting periods beginning on or after 1 April 2012.  If you’re not already filing your VAT online, switching now makes sense. By doing this, you’ll avoid a last-minute rush, and be able to enjoy the benefits of online filing sooner rather than later.  These benefits include:-

an automatic acknowledgement that your return has been received;

a handy arithmetic checker to help make sure you’ve done your sums correctly;

an email alert to remind you when your next online return is due (as, after April, HMRC will stop sending out paper returns to customers who are now required to file online).

To file your VAT return online, you’ll need to register for HMRC’s VAT Online Service – visit:- and click “Register” under the “New user” section. Then follow the instructions.

Affected businesses will also need to set up their preferred electronic payment method. To find out more all you need to do is visit:- for more information on the various options.

Further help and advice is available from HMRC’s website. If that doesn’t answer your question, call the VAT Online Services Helpdesk on:- 0845 010 8500 (available between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Friday).

Did you know that:-

1. Newly-registered businesses, and those with turnovers of more than £100,000, have had to file and pay their VAT online since 1 April 2010.

2. A summary of responses to a recent consultation on the changes, entitled:- ‘VAT – consultation on the next steps for moving VAT online – summary of responses’, is published on the HMRC website.

NW tutors and coaches have less than 1 month to clean the slate on tax

WARNING to all Private tutors and coaches as you have less than a month left to tell HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) about any tax you think you owe. HMRC have said that:- "They were offered a special tax plan called 'The Tax Catch Up Plan'; in October 2011. Registering by 6 January 2012 ensures that tutors and coaches don’t lose out on the best terms to disclose and pay what is owed."

The Tax Catch Up Plan is for people providing tuition or coaching, regardless of whether they have a registered qualification. It is aimed at those who profit from tuition and coaching as a main or secondary income, on which the correct tax has not been paid. The opportunity is available to people teaching traditional academic subjects, fitness and dance, musical instruments, art, life coaching, personal training and other instruction.

After 6 January 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:- "Tutors and coaches who have notified us of their intention to disclose unpaid tax will have until 31 March to tell us what they owe and make arrangements to pay. From January we will use the information at our disposal to investigate tutors and coaches who have not declared their full income. I therefore strongly urge anyone in this group who thinks they may have outstanding income tax liabilities to get in touch with HMRC and get their tax affairs in order. This is the first step for those with undisclosed income or gains to avoid a full tax investigation and much higher penalties. Contact us before we contact you."

The Tax Catch Up Plan has 2 stages:-

By 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 via:- or by calling HMRC on:- 0845 601 8817. A dedicated team is ready to help, Monday to Friday, from 08:00 until 19:30.

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