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HMRC announces single process for tax checks

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has said that it is planning trials which will streamline and simplify the process under which tax compliance checks are conducted.

The aim is to prevent prolonged and expensive inspections that involve several consecutive visits from inspectors over a number of months in order to assess a number of taxes.

Businesses that appear at risk of lapsing on the payment of one tax would be examined for a complete range of taxes, such as corporation tax, VAT, PAYE and income tax.

Under the plans, HMRC said that checks would only take as long as the risks and the behaviours dictate.

The trials of the new process will run for six months from 1 June in 10 different locations across the UK: Reading, Slough, Newcastle, Warrington, York, Exeter, London Euston, Southampton, Cardiff, Belfast, Edinburgh and Dundee.

Were the pilot schemes to prove successful, the intention is to roll out the process on a national basis as from January 2012.

David Gauke, Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, commented: "This Government is committed to relieving the burden on businesses. We know that agents, individuals and businesses find some of HMRC's current compliance practices drawn out and costly. A single compliance process could help HMRC improve the customer experience and reduce costs.

"HMRC is working directly with agents via the Compliance Reform Forum to help develop it, and will continue to work with them during the pilots."