HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers arrested 10 suspected multi-million pound "carousel" fraudsters last week in a nationwide swoop. It said arrests were made across the UK including in Birmingham, Slough, and Maidenhead, with 20 premises being searched in connection with a suspected missing trader intra community (MTIC), …
Oh yes, the latest strategy to be adopted to stop carousel fraud is ingenious....
... don't give anyone a new VAT number.
In May, the wait was 6 weeks, in April 8 weeks and now (July) it's 10-12 weeks. The wait period applies to all registrations of course, so if you registered at the beginning of May you'll still be waiting now.
Of course, the longer the wait, the more people call to find out what is going on - so they've reduced the opening hours to 10am to 3pm... and the IVR system is great : 0845 7112 114 (number for Central London registrations). Option 1 and then Option 2 and you then get told all the staff are busy and to try again. No queue, just keep trying.
At one stroke, new VAT fraud for 3 months has been eliminated.
Chancellor Gordon Brown integrated Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise to form HMRC to get efficiency... I hope this approach isn't adopted across government now he's Prime Minister.
Except IT Companies ...
Also if you are an IT company you get an investigation, with instructions NOT to contact them for 12 Weeks!! Gee, that's almost a VAT quarter.
Applied in February, descision to investigate in May, have to wait till August/September for a descision.
Until then I have to charge vat, collect vat - oh and pay the revenue the vat I collect which they can then put against my vat number WHICH I DON'T HAVE!
Now they have arrested the vat fraudsters can they please give be a VAT number?