A mobile phone trader who claims that he is being forced out of business by the Treasury’s Extended Verification VAT process has launched a petition against HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
As CRN’s campaign to highlight the plight of innocent firms caught up in HMRC’s strategy reaches its sixth week, Monty Jivraj, an operations manager at Olympia Technology Ltd (OTL), has lobbied the Office of the Prime Minister to take action.
The petition points to HMRC ‘wrongly withholding input tax on UK businesses’ and claims HMRC is ‘intentionally driving UK businesses into voluntary liquidation’.
Speaking to CRN, Jivraj said: “No-one has ever gone against HMRC and challenged its policies before, but it has got to the stage where a lot of companies out there have had VAT repayments withheld for up to a year.
“This means they cannot file their accounts or pay corporation tax and are being forced into liquidation by the Inland Revenue. This cannot be healthy for the economy.”
Jivraj added that OTL has not traded for eight months and has had to lay off four members of staff.
“I have nothing to lose anymore,” he said. “Extended Verification has to be conducted fairly so that innocent businesses don’t suffer.
“HMRC is using unfair bullying tactics and this time it has gone too far. We have to make a stand.”
The petition was welcomed by other industry players.
Ed Elliot-Square, sales manager at International Phone Traders, a dedicated web site for the mobile phone industry that has more than 400 members, said: “We are delighted to support this petition and hope that it will raise awareness of the enormous negative impact HMRC’s actions are having on legitimate traders and the economy as a whole.
“We have a large number of UK customers who are affected by these actions and many are being forced into liquidation.”
Dave Fisher, managing director of semiconductor firm Silicon8, which is awaiting a six-figure VAT repayment, said: “This petition is a good effort and well intentioned. In my opinion, HMRC is unlawfully withholding VAT through the undefined term ‘Extended Verification’ in the belief that it is better to let the innocent suffer while it fails to apprehend the fraudsters. It is a disgrace.”
The petition can be found online at: http://petitions.pm.gov.uk/VATrepayments.
An HMRC representative told CRN that the government body was aware of the petition, but that it had “no further comment to make”.
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