East of England-based accountants Moore Thompson is urging business not to be complacent if they receive accelerated payment notices (APNs), after new figures reveal that the government has collected more than £1 billion through their use.
HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) recently announced that it has collected more than £1 billion using APNs, since it was granted the new powers in 2014/15.
Under the accelerated payment rules, HMRC is able to make taxpayers pay disputed tax in advance, rather than waiting for the outcome of a tax tribunal ruling.
Once an APN is received taxpayers have 90 days to pay the outstanding tax, whether they feel it is due or not or face additional penalties. If the taxpayer wins the case the money is reimbursed to them with interest.
During the first year HMRC issued more than 10,000 notices to businesses or individuals who had used a disclosable scheme under the Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes (DOTAS) rules.
Mark Hildred, Managing Partner at Moore Thompson, said: ““Receiving an APN should not be taken lightly, as it can have a serious effect on the liquidity and reputation of you and your business.
“The fact that HMRC have collected more than £1 billion, shows that they are serious when it comes to potential tax avoidance.”
Earlier this year, it was revealed in HMRC’s annual report on tax avoidance, that of the £596m received from APNs during 2014/15, some £28m was refunded after legal challenges.
“While many of those targeted by these new powers may have legitimately avoided paying tax, there will be some individuals and business who have been unfairly targeted and this is evident in the number of refunds already issued by HMRC,” added Mark. “Seeking professional advice sooner rather than later is critical.”