Business Records Checks are coming to the South East after Christmas. Happy New Year!
Business Records Checks need not cause SMEs many problems, but there are some pertinent points to know:
Initial contact is a letter from HMRC warning of a forthcoming phone call.
Your accountant or tax agent will NOT receive a copy of this letter, so you must tell him/her.
HMRC may prefer to talk to you, but they should agree to talk to your agent instead.
If the phone call doesn't allay HMRC's concerns they are likely to make a visit to the business premises, which is often your home.
HMRC need to know your records are REQUISITE to submit a correct and complete tax return. This might mean your small spread sheet and a plastic wallet of receipts in date order is perfectly appropriate.
You don't need to know double entry book keeping or have a software package to keep adequate records.
HMRC can't insist on you running a business bank account, however, businesses often find they get to a point that this makes their life clearer and simpler.
Even after a visit, HMRC shouldn't charge a penalty if you make the changes you agreed to.
In summary, keep your accountant or agent informed, and if you present a clear picture of how you keep your records to make sure all income and appropriate costs are recorded, Business Records Checks shouldn't be something to cause you undue concern.