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Augean hit with another disputed landfill tax bill

Specialist waste management firm Augean has been told to pay £700,000 in back taxes for landfill disposal, as it continues its battle with HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

The tax bill covers three months ending 31 October 2013, and £100,000 has been added on in interest. It is the second assessment the company has received – a demand of £1.9m was issued in August.

Augean disputes the assessment, which has been a factor in the company issuing profit warnings. The disagreement is whether or not sufficient tax was paid for the treatment and disposal of hazardous waste.

Former chief executive Stewart Davies stepped down on 16 October, as the company revealed a cost reduction programme of £1.7m in addition to cuts of £1.3m announced in September.

Augean said it had expected to receive the latest tax bill, which it claimed was issued to prevent the matter going beyond a four-year time limit on tax demands.

The company is considering taking the matter to a tax tribunal.

A statement read: “Having taken advice from leading counsel and its solicitors, Augean continues to believe that both these assessments and any future assessments are without merit, and remains in discussions with HMRC.

“Augean continues to work with stakeholders in the sector about the broader adverse implications for the continued and necessary proper treatment of hazardous waste.”

In December last year, HMRC updated landfill tax rules on what qualifies for the lowest rate. A mixed load of mainly naturally occurring waste – such as gravel – cannot be charged at the usual low rate if the load contains a significant amount of hazardous material.

Augean said the new rules could lead to companies choosing to dispose of waste through different routes.

 

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