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“Misleading HMRC in any way, shape or form is wholly wrong, and can lead to unintended consequences for the contractor,” he explains.“The right thing is to consider your financial needs and create an income plan early in the tax year, and then to reassess that prior to 6 April, making any changes in a timely way.However, the practical problem for HMRC is determining whether the contractor has genuinely declared the dividend when they claim to have.In which instance you may require more substantial evidence.” Some contractors might be tempted to backdate dividend paperwork in order to avoid the recently implemented dividend tax hikes.However, Strike strongly advises against this as it is wrong and would result in fines and additional attention from HMRC if it were discovered.“You should never backdate anything that suggests something happened that did not, and could be considered tax evasion.
HMRC will begin to question: “If they’ve backdated dividends, what else have they done?
Contractors should consult with their accountants who should be alert to any additional sums within the contractor company, and possible savings their clients can make by timing their dividends.
If they failed to do this prior to 6 April, they may have cost themselves a few thousand pounds in extra tax. It means that contractors know what their higher rate tax liability is going to be in advance.
“That would mean your tax returns for both the previous year and the current year are wrong.” As a result, contractors could face penalties and interest for the late payment of any taxes that have arisen.
Whilst contractors are very unlikely to face prosecution, Strike warns that they will lose a lot of credibility in the eyes of HMRC.