Tax help for riot-affected businesses

For those businesses affected by last week’s riots, the last thing that they need is to have to deal with questions of tax. Well done then to HMRC who have opened a dedicated help line for all those individuals and businesses affected by the riots. The helpline (0845 366 1207) is to be staffed by those able to “provide comprehensive advice and deal sympathetically with problems currently faced by businesses and individuals”.

Some of the measures available to HMRC are:
• The discussion of practical solutions in cases where records have been lost due to the riots
• The provision of time to pay arrangements
• The waiving of penalties imposed due to late returns or payments.

The HMRC helpline is just one of the measures available to help affected businesses following a speech by the Prime Minister, David Cameron, last Thursday. Other measures include:
• The ability to claim compensation via the Riot Damages Act with the deadline for claiming having been extended from 14 to 42 days. Information on claiming is available from local police authorities.
• Help from local councils via a £20m high street support scheme alongside a £10m council recovery scheme announced by the Government. This includes the possibility of a 75% business rates rebate and fast tracking of planning permissions. Contact your local council for further information.
• Sympathetic help available from the banks including the provision of additional finance and the waiving of penalty charges or interest. A summary is available on the British Bankers Association website.

Those businesses affected by the riots at least have the slight consolation that the events occurred in the quieter summer months rather than in the crowded tax reporting period at the end of the year. Companies generally have to pay tax within nine months of the end of their financial year, with the tax return being completed within twelve months. Whilst sole traders and partnerships can also tie in tax returns with their accounting year, the majority choose to link this with the tax year to avoid complications. This gives the option of paper filing by the end of October or filing on line by the end of January.

Whilst in theory the filing deadlines give individuals and businesses some leeway to sort themselves out before worrying about tax payments and returns, it may still be worth contacting the HMRC helpline at an early stage. If there is any chance that records may have been lost or that time may be required to pay the earlier a discussion is initiated with HMRC the better the chance of practical help.

As tax mitigation specialists Newshams are able to give advice on how tax may affect any private or business transaction and how to put in place an effective mitigation strategy.

Contact us now on 020 7470 8820 and ask to speak to a tax adviser about how we can reduce your tax costs or e-mail us at and we’ll get straight back to you.

15th August 2011

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