VAT visit from HM Revenue & Customs

I have received a letter telling me that somebody from the VAT office is going to visit my business to inspect my records.  I do not believe I have done anything wrong, so why are they visiting me and what should I expect?

1st October 2010

Just because you have been told you are going to have a visit from somebody at the VAT office, this does not necessarily mean that they think you are doing something wrong.  Lots of random visits are arranged and the VAT office use these random checks to ensure that you are paying or reclaiming the correct amount of VAT on your returns and that you are keeping your records in a suitable manner.  The visiting officer may offer advice and recommendations for improvements to assist you in future periods.

Before the visit takes place HM Revenue & Customs will write to you to arrange a mutually convenient date and time for the visit.  They will also confirm the person at your business they wish to speak with, which accounting records they want to inspect and how long they envisage the visit lasting.

During the visit the officer may inspect your business premises, examine your business records and check details of supplies made by you and to you.  At the end of the visit the officer will discuss his review with you, including any problems he has identified.  The officer will explain any adjustments that need to be made if mistakes have led to an underpayment or overpayment of VAT.  They will also explain how you should keep your records and deal with certain situations to help to avoid future errors.

Occasionally the visiting officer may have a number of queries that cannot be answered in full on the day, in which case they may need to ask you to provide further information in order that they can conclude their inspection.

If you have any concerns about an impending VAT visit, or if you have just had a VAT visit and are concerned about any issues raised, please do not hesitate to contact your local TaxAssist Accountant who will be happy to help with your queries.

By Jo Nockels

Disclaimer: The information provided is based on current guidance (at date of publication) from HMRC and may be subject to change. Any advice shared here is intended to inform rather than advise. Taxpayer's circumstances do vary and if you feel that the information provided is beneficial it is important that you contact us before implementation. If you take, or do not take action as a result of reading this information, before receiving our written endorsement, we will accept no responsibility for any financial loss incurred.

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