We mentioned this new initiative in the February edition of TAX E-NEWS, and since then further aspects have emerged.
It looks like any checking will be based on a simplistic pro-forma that cannot take into account the specific way you run your business. That at best means the checking process will be misleading, and at worst it will be positively dangerous. HMRC may well get the wrong end of the stick and label your records as not being up to scratch when in reality they are perfectly acceptable.
Another controversial aspect is that HMRC plan to select cases for a Business Records Check on the basis of risk assessment, focusing on businesses that have features associated with poor record keeping. They talk about the corrective impact of Business Records Checks being increased, and poor record keepers further encouraged to bring their records up to standard, through leverage. HMRC give an example of when they identify a business population as having the features associated with poor record keeping, they could write individually to that population explaining that they are in a category at risk of having poor business records; that HMRC will be conducting checks of the business records of many of those in that population; and that they are, therefore, more likely to be chosen for such a check in the coming year.
All this make it vital that your record-keeping is reviewed by us to ensure that it will withstand any new attack from HMRC under its seemingly rough and ready approach.