He has almost worthless assets, his home/garage is in negative equity.Overheads to run the place, business rates etc are mental ( Garage is at same location as house and he spent 2 years and lots of money getting it all legit for working from, hence business rates )Will HMRC effectively bankrupt him for no gain, ie they will never see any money, or do they ever use common sense in these matters ?And as I said, whilst they have been very helpful in dealing with HMRC and sorting the books.They have offered no help or advice whatsoever when it comes to how he might actually pay what is owed, other than "you just have to pay it"Which when it's looking to be in the region of 30-40k all told....well, most people dont keep that sort of money in their back pockets.Also you said he has one employee, has he paid him, has he been doing the payroll himself, and if so has he been paying over the employees tax/NI to HMRC every month? If he had had an accountant at the beginning or even a good bookkeeper they would have told him about the threshold for VAT and then he could have registered when he was near the threshold.
He had an accountant ( a very bad one ) and was paying tax.
HTH Hindsight is a great thing but unfortunately he should have dealt with this a few years ago.
Having to be VAT registered means that he has a business turning over approx 70k (not an insignificant business).
If hes been trading for 3 yeas or so did it not occur to him to actually get an accountant and pay his tax, or get a tax refund if any due?
Unfortunately if there are poor records and it looks like there is a profit then HMRC will be after the money unless he can prove that he has legit expenses ie machinery, tools etc for the business that can go against the income, to reduce his tax liability.
I am not a tax expert by any means, so hopefully Shaun will be along soon to help out with the answer.