Have you ever been asked to attend an ‘hello meeting’ with HMRC?
The answer is probably not. But if you are a Company Secretary for an English Premier League, English Championship or Scottish Premiership football club, you may well have recently received a letter from HMRC asking for just that.
In what appears to be another targeted intervention by HMRC, letters have been sent to the football clubs telling them that a Case Director has been appointed to review the recent Corporation Tax, PAYE and VAT returns made by the company.
I have repeated an extract of one of the generic letters below:
Dear Sir or Madam
XXXX Football Club Limited
This letter is addressed to you as Company Secretary. It may be that having read it you feel that there is a more appropriate recipient within your office, and I would be grateful if you would pass the letter to them as soon as possible.
I am writing to let you know that I have been appointed as Case Director for the company. Many professional football clubs are dealt with within the Mid-size Business Area of HMRC, which is where your club resides. We have decided to review the recent Corporation Tax, PAYE and VAT returns made by the company.
As Case Director, I am responsible for managing the company’s relationships with HMRC for the duration of our enquiries, In the first instance, a team of Tax Specialists has been appointed to the company, which consists of:
XXXX XXXXXX – Corporation Tax: telephone 03000
XXXX XXXXXX – Employer Compliance: telephone 03000
XXXX XXXXXX – VAT: telephone 03000
If you have any queries in respect of the above taxes you should initially correspond directly with the relevant specialist.
The letters go on to say:
To start the review process, I intend to arrange a meeting with you, what we call the ‘Hello meeting’, for obvious reasons. At that meeting I will let you have more detail about my role and the Tax Specialists will be able to talk to you (or the relevant personnel) through the Risk Reviews that will be prepared before the meeting.
The letters conclude by proposing meeting dates and the offer of correspondence by e mail.
It is understood that the Risk Reviews form part of a lengthy questionnaire the HMRC team seek to go through. If all of the identified risk areas are addressed satisfactorily, I understand no further action will be taken. However, if problems do arise then a formal enquiry could well be the result, with the possibility of penalties.
Author: Guy Smith, Tax Investigations Manager on the ReSource Tax and VAT Consultancy Team
E mail: email@example.com