The legal in-house team of the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) is warning retailers to beware of a scam affecting businesses with a VAT registration number.

Don’t be fooled by VAT number scam, warns bira

The legal in-house team of the British Independent Retailers Association (bira) is warning retailers to beware of a scam affecting businesses with a VAT registration number.

Don't be fooled by VAT number scam, warns bira

Targeted businesses have received a letter headed “Publication of companies and VAT Registration Numbers in the UK Corporate Portal 2013”.

The letter refers to an ‘EU requirement for all UK companies to provide their VAT registration number’ and supplies a partially completed form for the business to sign and return. The information supplied is then added to a database – the “UK Corporate Portal”, the letter claims.

Bira warns that “the letter is official-looking and the language convincing”. However, the small print refers to an annual fee of £797 to be paid for the next three years (and extended by another year if not terminated in writing three months ahead of expiry).

“Needless to say,” the Association comments, “there is absolutely no requirement for companies to complete the form, and it’s all a money-making scam.”

If you receive such a letter, bira would be interested to hear from you. It advises: “As with any unsolicited correspondence, however official looking, be sure to read any small print carefully, and if in doubt, get in touch to talk through any concerns.” You can email the bira legal in-house team at information@bira.co.uk or call on 0121 446 6688.

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