Of late, HMRC appear to be behaving more agressively when issuing penalties for errors made on VAT returns. We need to be aware of this for the following reasons:
There have been more incidences of penalties for ‘deliberate errors’ in situations where taxpayers have submitted VAT returns after making an assumption or not checking a particular treatment. Often the intention would be to correct via an adjustment on the next VAT if within the voluntary disclosure limits.
HMRC are arguing that a deliberate but nor concealed error occurs when a document is returned that is know to contain an inaccuracy.
Best practice advice would therefore to be vigilant when preparing and submitting VAT returns, remembering also that preparing in a timely manner as soon as you can after the quarter end provides more time to take advice and deal with any issues prior to the filing date and will hopefully lead to error-free returns.
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