Businesses in Northern Ireland were warned today that they have only until March 31 to claim rebates on up to 24 years’ worth of overpaid or under-claimed VAT.
Frankie Devlin, tax partner with accountants KPMG in Belfast, said many businesses in Northern Ireland were unaware they qualify for these cash recoveries
He said: “The majority of businesses in Northern Ireland are suffering in the current recession, and these claims are especially valuable and timely.
“For some of the larger businesses, claims could run into millions of pounds. For example, any businesses that ran car fleets between 1973 and 1997 may very well be due a rebate.
“Worryingly, in our experience, often these companies are not aware that they qualify until they discuss the opportunity with their advisors.
“In order to evaluate the size of the opportunity, businesses in Northern Ireland need to look at the size of their organisations back in the 1970’s to the 1990’s as many organisations have shrunk, merged and so on.”
According to KPMG, any business that has overpaid or under-claimed VAT during the 24 year period between 1973 and 1997 needs to apply for a rebate by the March 31 deadline.
Mr Devlin added: “If businesses in Northern Ireland don’t act quickly, they will miss out on what is effectively ‘free money’ as all claims must be submitted by the end of March.
“Inaction could prove a mistake few can afford to make in the current climate.”
In some cases, the claims are expected to run into millions of pounds with certain sectors such as the automotive sector and companies which ran car fleets being particularly affected.