The department is launching a new campaign that will mean from February 28th, any firm that fails to submit their monthly VAT returns online will have their tax details looked at in more detail.
Small businesses and others are being given an opportunity to get their tax affairs up to date by this date and could receive lower penalties if they come forward voluntarily by the end of February.
Marian Wilson, Head of HMRC Campaigns, explained that this should act as a reminder that VAT must be paid on time.
"After February 28th, if they have not submitted their outstanding VAT returns and paid what they owe, HMRC will use its legal powers to pursue outstanding returns and any VAT that is unpaid," she explained.
"Penalties, or even criminal investigation, could follow."
It comes as taxpayers are being warned that the self assessment tax return deadline for 2011-12 is January 31st.
Posted by Thomas Fletcher