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.
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.