Big UK firms owe £2.7bn in unpaid VAT

HMRC is missing out on a total of £2.7bn in underpaid VAT, a new study has revealed.

HMRC suspects 208 of the UK’s 2,000 largest businesses have underpaid VAT by an average of £13.4m each, according to fresh analysis by Thomson Reuters.

The study said that the £13.4m figure relates to “tax under consideration”, which is an estimate of the amount of VAT HMRC believes has gone unpaid, prior to full tax investigations being completed.

The study warned that businesses should expect HMRC to increase the number of tax investigations after the authority received an additional £292m to tackle underpayment of tax in last year’s autumn budget.

“The government has beefed up HMRC’s tax compliance capabilities and will be expecting results. Large corporates, which HMRC views as underpaying VAT, are likely to be a high priority target for investigation,” Jas Sandhu Dade, head of corporates Europe at Thomson Reuters, said.

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