Charterhouse Blog

HMRC Benchmarking and how this might affect your business

HMRC has started using profit ratio ‘benchmarks’ on trade sectors and Charterhouse wishes to bring to your attention how this might affect your business.

The benchmarks provide businesses, within a chosen trade sector, with a guide to see whether the net profit rate they are achieving is comparable to their competitors and within the ‘parameters’ expected by HMRC.

Some painters and decorators have received letters telling them that HMRC has compared the tax returns submitted by all painters and decorators over the last three years. The turnover declared and expenses claimed on all of these returns have been used by HMRC to determine a ‘net profit ratio’. The net profit ratio benchmark range for painters and decorators has been calculated at between 59-79%, a variance to reflect the fact that every business, even comparable businesses within the same sector, are run differently and do have their own unique characteristics. These letters go on to state that if the painter or decorators net profit ratio does not fall within the benchmark range, this could be down to two common reasons:

  1. Numbers – have the right numbers been put in the right boxes?
  2. Expenses – have any expenses been claimed by mistake or not claimed for?

However, surely the key question really is, what will HMRC do if a painter or decorator files a tax return which is outside the benchmark range, in other words achieving less than 59%?

It just may be the start of an enquiry.

The trade sectors are just the start, surely all businesses can soon expect to be benchmarked against HMRC’s statistics so be ready.

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