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VAT on a shoestring

03 August 2006 / David Sweeting
Issue: 4069 / Categories: Comment & Analysis , VAT
DAVID SWEETING reviews the extended verification of VAT registration applications and asks if this might be a step too far.

THE SPECTRE OF carousel fraud and the need to check for suspicious applications are said to be the reasons for the extended verification checks to which new VAT registrations are now subject before the all too important registration number is issued by HMRC.

However whilst the verifications are clearly necessary — with television programmes such as BBC's recent Panorama feature 'Do You Want to be a Millionaire?' putting this subject under the spotlight — the question that arises is whether HMRC are doing this on a shoestring. It appears that legitimate applications are consequently being delayed to the point of either damaging businesses at their very inception or indeed putting so many obstacles in the way of legitimate corporate transactions as to put sales and transfers at risk.

A knotty problem

We are currently experiencing delays in excess of ten weeks for registration applications to be processed. Two...

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