Why look out for Zombies. All these companies run up VAT debts then crumple. Why aren't the Directors prosecuted and their assets taken?
How did Comet manage to run up a £50M+ debt on tax? Their credit rating must of been atrocious why were they allowed to owe the tax man anything?
The VAT bill is one of the things businesses 'borrow' from the tax system, they are collecting on the Government behalf its not their money though to hear them talk about "finding the money to pay the vat man" you would think it was theirs.
Any business turning over say £120K should pay VAT monthly on a cash basis (not Accrual which can catch you out). It can be an approx amount which is finalised quarterly with 3 monthly declarations.
So if they are paying £6K / quarter they pay £2k a month this cuts VAT exposure to a third. If it varies massively outside the normal retail fluctuations SIC code norms you can catch this by charging interest.
Any company turning over £120K a year should be doing monthly accounts and rough turnover calculations.
Same with PAYE & corp tax its monthly.
Bigger firms or at risk ones can pay more frequently.
3 strikes and PAY. If the company has failed to pay on time 3 times or more / been caught mis - reporting should be allowed less flexibility on payments. So dodgy companies pay everything immediately.
Smaller firms could be allowed more flexibility but why not pay min 50% of your expected corp tax monthly?
Lets be as hard on reckless firms as we are on reckless benefit claimants there are fewer and we have more control over them. They do not have human rights!