Deregister for VAT, IR35 for public sector contracts, Penalty notices

Our most recent email contained tips on how to manage a smooth withdrawal from VAT for those clients who are only VAT registered in order to take advantage of that scheme. Clients who have contracts for services with public sector bodies need advice about the new IR35 rules, so we examined the HMRC guidance in this area. Finally, we shared a warning about inaccurate penalty notices.

Below we share just part of one of the above 3 tax tips – see the side boxes on this page to learn how you could subscribe to receive the full 3 tax tips every week.

Penalty notices

HMRC has a number of legacy computer systems, which don’t always talk to each other effectively. This has caused problems with class 2 NIC liabilities disappearing from taxpayers’ records, as we reported in our newsletter on 8 December 2016.

A work around invented by HMRC staff is to issue a temporary NI number for the taxpayer, so class 2 NIC can be paid alongside his SA income tax liability. However, in some cases the temporary NI number has triggered the creation of a duplicate UTR number for the taxpayer.

When the taxpayer’s 2015/16 tax return was submitted only one of their UTR numbers recorded the receipt of that return, so the HMRC computer has issued a late filing penalty for the other duplicate UTR number. What a mess! Your only option is to appeal against the incorrect penalty notice.

The HMRC computer also has its calendar in a knot. The £100 late filing notices for 2015/16 SA returns should have been dated 22 February, but were actually dated 15 February, and did not arrive with taxpayers until early March. If you have only just received a penalty notice for your client, you can submit a late appeal. A mistake by HMRC in the detail of the penalty notice – such as with the issue date, should be accepted as a reasonable excuse of making a late appeal.