Customs hires FH for VAT brief

HM Customs and Excise has launched a PR campaign to help small businesses assess their VAT.

The campaign, which runs until April, will push the department’s Flat Rate Scheme, launched 18 months ago, as a simpler way to calculate VAT.

Rather than the traditional quarterly accounting method, which operates on sales and purchases, the Flat Rate Scheme calculates VAT as a percentage of total turnover.

It has appointed Fishburn Hedges to manage the campaign after a pitch, involving GCI and August.One Communications, managed by the Central Office of Information.

The brief for the media relations-based campaign is to raise awareness of the benefits of the scheme, which saves time and reduces administrative burdens, said FH assistant MD Fiona Thorne.

The programme will target businesses with an annual turnover of up to £150,000 as well as business advisers and accountants, using the national media, broadcast and regional and specialist sector press.

Thorne said: ‘We are targeting small business owners ranging from farmers to publicans.’

‘The challenge will be to communicate effectively to such businesses as they tend to be bombarded with PR messages,’ she added.

The campaign is part of a wider commitment to make all practices as smooth as possible and to keep bureaucracy to a minimum, added Thorne.

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