HM Revenue & Customs has begun an extension of its Business Records Checks programme.
Piloted earlier this year in eight areas, the programme involves checks on the adequacy of small and medium-sized enterprises' business records.
The pilots found that around 44 per cent of businesses visited had issues with their record-keeping, while around 12 per cent of those visited had seriously inadequate records.
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HMRC is planning to complete up to 12,000 Business Records Checks by the end of the current financial year, with 20,000 provisionally planned for 2012/13. HMRC is increasing the number of visits, so it can refine the process, before final decisions on a national roll-out are taken in the New Year.
Initially, HMRC will only levy a record-keeping penalty in the most extreme cases of poor record-keeping. In the longer-term, HMRC intends to issue penalties of up to £3,000 for serious inadequacies in record-keeping. HMRC will issue guidance on this, and make a further announcement on when it will happen, in due course.
A guide to setting up a record-keeping system is available from the Business Link website.