9am Lowdown: HMRC tackles unpaid sin taxes

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Good morning. Here is Tuesday’s 9am Lowdown.

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HMRC tackles unpaid sin taxes

HMRC’s investigation into those avoiding ‘sin taxes’ such as those buying cigarettes sold on the black market has generated £1.6bn in extra tax this year, which is a 6% increase on last year.

According to UHY Hacker Young, HMRC estimated six billion cigarettes consumed last year were purchased on the black market, and says that this is the result of “heaping tax load on any product”. 

Roy Maugham of UHY Hacker Young, said: "At a time when HMRC is under significant political pressure to maximise the tax take, cracking down on those avoiding ‘sin taxes' generates considerable additional revenue, and is broadly popular with the public.”

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How to get your first clients

AccountingWEB.com has compiled advice for anyone planning on starting their own accounting firm and looking for their first client.

Zoe Anderson advises you should “create a spreadsheet where you'll enter the names and contact information for at least 50 local businesses that you would like to do business with”.

Now that you’re primed with a list of businesses, Anderson recommends updating your spreadsheet after you contact them: how did things go, what you discussed, or if you have learned anything about them. “When you reach out to them again to follow up, you can refer back to it in a natural way and they'll be pleased you made the effort to remember them,” Anderson said.

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Community: Delayed HMRC letter

What’s the longest an HMRC letter has taken to reach you? Cath Walker asked this question on Any Answers after receiving a letter on Monday from HMRC dated 12 January.

“That's nearly 11 weeks to reach me. Is that a record?” Walker said. Another AccountingWEB member claimed to have recently received a letter from 13 October 2013.

Can you beat this? Head over to Any Answers if you have longer delayed letter.

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